Alan stand holding two water bottles and smiling at the camera whilst wearing a high-vis vest and mask

Interview with Alan Gray

Alan Gray is the Competitions Manager at SportUNE. His usual day would include working with various sporting associations in the organising and running of competitions. Since lockdown, Alan turned in his referee whistle for a high-vis vest and clipboard to help the team assisting at the UNE Medical Centre and Armajun Health Service Aboriginal Corporation drop-in COVID Clinics.

We spoke with Alan about his involvement at the clinics, and why he thinks they have been integral to the vaccination percentages in the New England region.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I work at SportUNE where I am the Competition Manager for all the sporting competitions on Campus. I manage the regional SUFL (SportUNE Football League) competition, Twilight Soccer, SUFL Academy, as well as Futsal. I also look after the UNE Netball Competition. It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy seeing the community come together over sport.

What was your role during the COVID Clinic events?

I had a couple of roles during the vaccination clinics. Initially, I was just ensuring clients correctly QR checked into the pop up clinic, but for many weeks I have been driving the Voyager (UNE Discovery vehicle – they lent it to us for the clinics) to each of the sites, as well as and setting up the mobile vaccination clinics – which is quite a task!

My role at the clinics has been completely different from what I have ever done previously. However, I spend a lot of time talking to the community in my role at these events, so I guess that’s where I can find the similarities. In this case, it was about the entire UNE Life team pulling together to get the job done.

Which locations did you attend/help at?

I’ve assisted at every single one of the clinic locations which include Armidale, Inverell, Moree, Tamworth, Ashford, Delungra, Tingha, Tenterfield and Guyra. You can view all the dates (upcoming and previous) and how many doses the team administered on the UNE Medical website. 

Alan Gray stands out the front of a une banner wearing SportUNE dark blue jumper and a mask

How have these clinics impacted the region?

These clinics are extremely important as this global pandemic has affected the lives of everyone. Agree or disagree with the virus, but it has affected each and every one of us, every person in the whole world – it’s like nothing before. These clinics have enabled regional Australians access to a COVID-19 vaccination, and the opportunity to contribute to the nation’s goal of re-opening at 80% double vax and can hopefully return to a similar life pre-pandemic. It’s been a huge job, but a worthy one!

Have you got any highlights from these events?

It’s actually been so amazing to see the turnout at the clinics, to see many people from different walks of life stepping up and getting the vaccine. It was also nice to see communities come together, and to work with people from other teams across UNE Life, UNE Medical Centre, Life, Functions & Catering, the Security team and other collaborators, such as Armajun and Adam Marshall MP.

What are you looking forward to moving forward?

Being able to travel again. But most importantly, travel overseas. I really miss this!

What’s one thing you’ve learned working at these clinics?

I have learned many things. The importance of accepting and trusting health professionals advice. There’s a lot of misinformation out there – my advice is to follow and listen to trusted sources, not just what you read on social media!

Thank you, Alan, for assisting your local community and helping us get back to “normal” your help at the COVID Clinics has been immensely appreciated. Your hard work had not gone unnoticed, and we thank you for being part of such an agile and compassionate team! 

Visit the UNE Medical Centre website to view the upcoming dates and locations for the drop in clinics.

See the latest vaccination statistics on our website here.