A Covid vaccinator has expressed her disappointment about receiving a parking ticket in Wandsworth - whilst volunteering at a vaccination centre.

Claudia Coelho, who lives in Kingston, has been an NHS volunteer since the very beginning of the pandemic.

She worked as a full-time vaccinator - serving both Merton and Wandsworth councils.

She began her volunteer work supporting the vulnerable who couldn’t leave home, by delivering food and medicines.

She then signed up for vaccinating training at St John’s Ambulance earlier this year and was based at St Barnabas Church.

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In July 2020, Claudia parked her car in the drop off-point at the church while she went inside to volunteer.

To her dismay, she received a parking ticket.

She appealed the ticket - but on November 2, Claudia was told the ticket would not be cancelled as “parking controls are there for a reason".

Claudia told the Wandsworth Times she often found it “challenging” to find a parking space and regularly had no other choice but to park in the vaccine drop-off area.

Claudia said: “Most people who were coming in for a vaccine were walking or taking the bus as the church is in the community.

“The spaces were limited in the area, so I would sometimes park there if I had no other choice.

“There was plenty of room for anyone else and I never had any issues prior to this.”

Claudia said there was “a small area for car spaces” at the church, but they were “reserved for doctors”.

She added: “There is a couple of spaces in the church, but they’re usually left for the doctors. “You can park in resident areas, but not between 1pm and 2pm, which was usually the middle of my shift.

“I deliberately never parked in resident areas - as I wouldn’t want to take it away from residents.”

Claudia says she “appealed the parking ticket by sending proof of her volunteer work”.

She explained: “I sent all my evidence of shift bookings, my ID and proving I was a volunteer at St Johns.

“In September, Wandsworth council responded saying ‘it was correctly issued, and I didn’t establish the position ground for cancellation’.

Claudia says she never claimed costs back from transportation during the time she was vaccinating and always “provided for herself”.

She added: “I contacted Wandsworth councillor Kim Caddy and told her I was very disappointed.

“Kim seemed to be equally disappointed and spent the next couple of months arguing it.

“On November 2, I told Kim that I had to pay, or I was at risk of prosecution.”

Claudia first received the parking ticket in July for £55 - but as it was not paid in the first two weeks, it doubled to £110.

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She added: “The council would not rescind it as they said, ‘all rescinded tickets have to be fair’, but they did reduce it back to the original £55.”

Although she lived in the Kingston Borough, Claudia would travel to Wandsworth to fulfil her volunteer duties.

She said: “I’ve spent countless hours and my own money commuting and parking.

“I have never claimed any cost back for transportation and I have always provided for myself.”

Claudia said she was told by the parking and compliance team at Richmond and Wandsworth Council that it will not be repealed because “parking controls are there for a reason".

Claudia added: “I really felt like the council did not recognise the work of the volunteers and what it has taken to get so many people vaccinated across the community."

Claudia said she “couldn’t have asked for better training with St Johns” but thinks “discretion needs to be taken”.

She explained: “For the council to take this as a very black and white issue, you know ‘rules are rules’, when we are in a global pandemic, is disappointing.

“I am someone who has taken time off my job to volunteer full time in order to help the community in a council that isn’t my own council, yet there is no recognition.

“Other volunteers like me have had trouble finding spaces, so it would be a great opportunity of parking permits “I think this is where discretion needs to be taken.

“Human connection and the community are more important than anything, especially over pound and pence.

“It’s difficult because we are not colleagues of the council so we have no privileges, but we wouldn’t have survived the pandemic without the help of the volunteers.”

Newsquest south London contacted Wandsworth Council for comment.