Teenage swim instructors volunteer at East Renfrewshire COVID-19 hub

Zoe Jamieson, Rebecca Hickey and Emma Barbour working as wardens at their local covid centreZoe Jamieson, Rebecca Hickey and Emma Barbour working as wardens at their local covid centre
Zoe Jamieson, Rebecca Hickey and Emma Barbour working as wardens at their local covid centre
Three teenage swim instructors are volunteering at their local COVID-19 Hub during the coronavirus outbreak.

Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hickey and 18-year-olds Emma Barbour and Zoe Jamieson are used to making a splash while teaching young children to swim.

The East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure employees work across Barrhead Foundry, Eastwood and Neilston Leisure Centres.

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With their leisure centres closed, the teens stepped up to assist with volunteer work as cleaners for their local COVID hub, based at Eastwood Health and Care Centre in Clarkston.

They are now working as wardens, keeping the public safe by directing traffic, assisting patients who visit the site and advising nurses of arrivals for assessments.

Zoe Jamieson, from Newton Mearns, usually takes children’s swimming classes at Barrhead Foundry and Eastwood Leisure Centre and plans to study veterinary medicine later this year. She is enjoying helping the community during the outbreak.

Zoe explained: “The main part of the role is ensuring people going for the COVID-19 assessment use a different entrance to those using the health centre for other purposes. This keeps everyone else in the building safer and can lower the stress of going out for other patients.

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“I am enjoying being able to do my bit to help out whilst also being out in the fresh air for a few hours.”

She added: “I am really missing my swim classes – they are so much fun to take and make up such a huge part of my day-to-day life. I’m definitely looking forward to taking the lessons again.”

Her colleagues, Rebecca and Emma, are also looking forward to resuming their normal water roles.

Rebecca Hickey, from Barrhead, who plans to study sports and exercise science at university, is on hand to help out at the health centre.

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She said: “We stop the cars and ask them why they are coming to the doctors, whether it’s for a normal appointment or an assessment for COVID, and direct them to the correct place.

“I enjoy it and it gets me out of the house for a few hours but I miss my swim classes and can’t wait to eventually get back to work!”

Swimming instructor Emma Barbour, from Newton Mearns, works at Barrhead Foundry’s swimming pool and is due to start studying physiotherapy at Glasgow Caledonian University in September. She is currently working at the COVID hub four mornings per week.

Emma said: “I made myself available for any form of volunteering since not being able to work so was delighted when this opportunity came up. I’m also a competitive high jumper, which I’m missing as well as my work, my work colleagues and my swim classes but I am really enjoying the work at the centre and have made new friends from it too.”

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Employees from across East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure have been volunteering in various roles, from helping with food parcels at the local Humanitarian Hub and working at key worker education hubs, driving roles and assisting with shielding calls.

Robert Hammond, from East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure, said: “We are proud of the important work that Zoe, Rebecca and Emma are doing to help keep people safe in our local community.

“Their roles are essential in keeping the traffic flowing properly, helping patients who arrive, keeping the nurses informed and maintaining a calm environment.

“Employees from across the organisation have been taking on various roles in the community to support the public and we’re very proud of each and every one of them.”

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