The Trust said thank you for the invaluable work of its volunteers and charity partners with afternoon tea at Chelmsford City Racecourse.
The annual event attracted over 100 dedicated volunteers who were thanked by Trust chair Alan Tobias and Mayor of Chelmsford Cllr Bob Massey, and then enjoyed a fine selection of sandwiches and cakes.
Cllr Massey told the audience how since taking office he’d become increasingly aware of the crucial role volunteers play and said it was “humbling” to see how much time and commitment they gave.
The Trust recruits its own volunteers and works with groups including the Friends at Broomfield, Friends of Braintree, Support 4 Sight, Alcoholics Anonymous, Pets as Therapy, Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospital Radio to provide support and services for patients and staff across mid Essex.
Jonathan Wright, patient experience & voluntary services manager, praised the contribution the volunteers make: “They are a huge asset to the organisation. They are the reassuring, friendly face that people see when they come in through the front door. They have the time to talk to talk to patients to make them feel at ease – this is time that paid members of staff don’t always have as we are so busy.
“Having volunteers in places like the Chemotherapy and Breast units where they can be there smiling and making patients cups of tea is a good thing.
“We were delighted to welcome Alan Tobias and the Mayor of Chelmsford Cllr Massey. They gave excellent speeches to thank the volunteers for their time.”
Attendee Linda Hotston, joint volunteer coordinator at Braintree Community Hospital, has been donating her time to the Trust for nine years after retiring from a career in finance. She believes that volunteering is not just beneficial for the Trust but for the volunteers themselves too.
“I think volunteering is an excellent thing to do, especially if you’re on your own at home. We’re an active group with 64 'Friends' in total. We work shifts at our shop and we go and talk to patients. It’s like a big family.
“It’s lovely meeting people and helping people, and you feel as though you’re giving back a little bit to society. I think that’s why most of the volunteers like to do it.”