Hotel manager answers volunteer call to deliver vital medicine

Community Hero: Angisan Nuwan Jayasena, who travelled 250 miles to help the NHS. Picture: Sarah Luc

Angisan Nuwan Jayasena, who travelled 250 miles to help the NHS - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

When hotel manager Angisan Nuwan Jayasena was called upon, he did what needed to be done.

Mr Jayasena is the general manger of the Novotel Hotel in Ipswich, and lives in Romford, Essex, but he answered the call of Ipswich Hospital to help deliver medicines to vulnerable people when it mattered.

"I registered on the Goodsam volunteering app quite some time back, about six months ago," he said.   

"As a hotelier and being in the city centre we are part of the community and I wanted to give something back."

It was Mr Jayasena's experiences at the hotel that spurred him on.  

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"When the first lockdown happened the whole city centre closed and the hotels closed around us and we were the one hotel left open in the city centre for NHS workers," said Mr Jayasena. 

“We had about 30 NHS staff members staying with us and we looked after them really well.  

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“We knew what sort of pressure and volumes they were handling.  

“That’s where my initial thought came from to give something back to the community and the NHS."

The app allows non-medically trained people to help emergency services through different roles.   

Community Hero: Angisan Nuwan Jayasena, who travelled 250 miles to help the NHS. Picture: Sarah Luc

Angisan Nuwan Jayasena has been helping the NHS during the pandemic - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“The area I offered to help in was transportation," said Mr Jayasena. 

“I’ve been doing that for the last five months.

"Every now and then I take medicines from pharmacies and go and deliver this to vulnerable people, people who are shielding."

His biggest request was to deliver 235 blood pressure monitoring units to 35 different locations in Suffolk and beyond.  

“Volume-wise it was quite a tough ask but I still said yes,” he said. 

There had been hopes for another volunteer to help Mr Jayasena out but in the end he did most of the work himself. 

“A couple of people from my team helped. They are volunteers as well. So they helped me to deliver the local bits here in Ipswich.” 

While his team members remained in town, Mr Jayasena ended up driving to Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and as far north as Norwich as part of his delivery rounds.  

“That was about 250 miles and then we did about 30 miles locally,” said Mr Jayasena.  

Even more impressively, Mr Jayasena covered all these miles and completed his deliveries in just three days.  

“I had to organise myself and take a few days off work,” said Mr Jayasena.  

“I started at 9am on the first day and finished at 6.30pm on the final day. It was quite tiring.  

"I’m happy I did it because I know it’s all going to be beneficial for someone at one point.”

For Mr Jayasena the motivation for his work over the past few months has been helping people who have helped his own family. 

"It's the satisfaction I'm getting out of it as well," said Mr Jayasena. 

"I have kids and they came through the NHS. I know how hard those people worked when my children were born.

"It kind of stuck in my mind how much effort these guys put into their jobs so I wanted to do something in return." 

Mr Jayasena said that he had also enjoyed seeing people's smiles and having quick chats with those he helped, especially the elderly. 

"This motivates me to do more," said Mr Jayasena. 

"Knowing my small actions made an impact and will benefit someone's life is a nice feeling to have."

Mr Jayasena hopes that he can keep giving back in the future.

"I will do as much as I can," said Mr Jayasena.

Lorraine Boggis, transformation programme manager for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: “We have been fortunate that since the start of the pandemic we have received fantastic support from members of the public who have volunteered to assist us during what have been extremely challenging times.

“Angisan came forward to offer his services and has done a fantastic job getting these vital devices distributed to practices across Suffolk, enabling our CCG colleagues to focus on our response to Covid-19 and our highly successful vaccination programme.

“We are indebted to public-spirited people like Angisan and the many other volunteers who have stepped forward to help us when we needed the most.”

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