I have just been to the vaccination centre at STEAM - and got a massive shot in arm.

I’m not talking about an actual Covid-19 vaccination, currently being administered mostly to the over-80s, but rather the figurative boost you get from seeing the operation at first hand.

A couple of weeks ago my wife put her name down to be a volunteer at the vaccination centre on her day off work - and before I knew it, she had put my name down, too.

Nothing gives her greater pleasure than finding me something to do, now I am retired, as if I can’t think of anything myself. But of all the jobs she has found me, this is arguably the most satisfying.

My first shift was a morning of directing drivers in the car park. Then I was allocated an afternoon shift indoors, helping to greet people when they arrived at the door - a bit like a bouncer, telling them where to go, but in a nice way.

It was a ringside view from which to marvel at the friendly efficiency of the operation, and the impressive teamwork required - because it is a complex collaboration between admin and clinical staff from surgeries, Council workers, STEAM employees and various other groups, as well as volunteers.

The skill, dedication, compassion and resilience of healthcare professionals in the ongoing crisis may have finally got them recognition as true ‘heroes’, but the vaccination centre underlined that they still only get a fraction of the real credit and rewards they deserve.

So we could have a debate about how quick politicians are to dodge criticism when health provision goes wrong, and how quick they are to outsource it instead of investing in the NHS.

And is it me, or are they already lining up to grab the glory should the vaccine roll-out go better than we expect?

But the efficiency of the team at the vaccination centre strikes me as an example not of what can be achieved because of politicians, but rather in spite of them.

To be fair to Swindon Borough Council: they deserve praise for the success of the operation at STEAM so far. Credit where it’s due.

So perhaps one of the lessons is that local efforts are more likely to provide the solution, rather than those driven by central governments with alternative agendas.

What I am certain of is that when major challenges like this are left to the people on the ground, who understand the situation, have genuine community spirit, all the qualities necessary to deliver the solution and a willingness to work hard for each other, we are in far safer hands.

And thanks too, to Joy, the lady organising the volunteers at STEAM. Joy works for the Council and makes the awkward job of putting the volunteers’ rota together look easy, so when she sent a kind thank-you email to us, we replied to say it was our pleasure.

Because this is one job that is… well… a joy.