Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) is a time for us to say a big 'thank you' for the fantastic and invaluable contribution our volunteers make, supporting staff at our hospitals every day in many, many different ways.
The volunteer roles across the Trust are as diverse as the people who give up their valuable time to help make a difference to the care we provide. Volunteers are our link to the community, people giving up their own time and giving something back. It is an opportunity to provide extra time for listening to patients, supporting clinical staff, talking and supporting patients, sometimes helping at mealtimes as mealtime companions.
Anita Martins, associate director of nursing responsible for patient experience and volunteers said:
"Our volunteers are vital to the support they give hospital staff on a daily basis. They give of their time to help ensure the best patient experience and care is given to our patients. On busy wards where nursing staff are busy with regular medical checks and caring for patients, volunteers can provide the time to listen, talk and comfort patients.
There is such a variety of volunteer roles within the hospital, Friends at Broomfield, Friends at Braintree Community Hospital, pet dog handlers who help our dementia patients, support for sight, Red Cross, Hospital Radio. These are just some of the volunteer supporters who make such a huge difference every day.
I see the impact they make on a daily basis and would like to say a big thank from me and my team who value so much the work they do."
Jonathan Wright, volunteer manager said:
" In the time I have worked here at the hospital as volunteers manager many of our volunteers have become valued friends. The passion and commitment they show on a daily basis helping patients and supporting staff is really exceptional. Speaking with some of our elderly volunteers, they say they enjoy be able to give something back and that being out and about around the hospital helps to keep them fit and active, as well as being able to provide support for patients and staff.
Each year, usually during the summer, we put on an afternoon event for all our volunteers to come along for tea, coffee and cakes and a chance to meet each other, but most importantly it gives us the chance to publicly say 'thank you' to them all.
With the current pressures on the healthcare system right across the country, the support our volunteers give us is really vital, actually essential, and I want to give my own grateful thanks to them all."
One of our volunteers
Holly Lucking, who works in governance supporting Sarah Moon with policies, guidelines and patient information, said:
" I started working as a volunteer in maternity with Sarah Moon, who helped me lot to settle in, and when she moved over to governance I followed her over there. I have recently been diagnosed with autism, asperger's syndrome, and I have always been quite shy and nervous in social situations. Volunteering has given me the confidence to go out and meet people, to be able to push myself in situations I used to find uncomfortable.
I also volunteer for the Chelmsford Cats Protection Centre two days a week, which combines my love of animals with the opportunity to give something back. People volunteer for lots of reasons, and I feel volunteering at the hospital and the cats centre has helped me a lot, and in the time I have been at the hospital I have also made some lovely new friends."