1 June 2017

Hospital volunteers celebrated to mark national Volunteers’ Week

Staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recognise contribution hospital volunteers make to patient and visitor experience

DEDICATED hospital volunteers who give up their free time to make a difference to patient and NHS visitor experience are to be thanked by staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of national Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June).

A series of events, including a special ‘thank you’ presentation, to be held at the Rutland Hotel on Wednesday 7 June at 4pm, are to be run in recognition of the role volunteers play in helping improve patient and visitor experience at the Trust.

Hospital volunteers – who are given full training and aged over 16 – are involved in a variety of different roles. These range from ward-based roles where volunteers chat to patients to patients to help them pass the time on the wards, assisting at mealtimes, ‘meet and greet’ roles to initiative such as the Arts in Health scheme, or the Clothing for Patients project, which makes sure wards are fully stocked with suitable clothes for patients to travel home in when they are discharged from hospital.

Special recognition will be given to two specially trained pet therapy dogs, who provide vital comfort and support to those with advanced progressive illnesses and with neurological conditions where psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount. Dee Dee and Ika, who are owned by Martin Newell and Mary Littlewood, are provided as part of the national Pets As Therapy programme. The Siberian huskies, who will officially retire in July this year, have been volunteering since February 2015.

Information stands will run at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospital sites between 10am to 2pm on Thursday 1 June (Clocktower Dining Room, Northern General Hospital), Friday 2 June, (Huntsman Dining Room, Northern General Hospital) and Tuesday 6 June (D Floor Dining Room, Royal Hallamshire Hospital).

There are currently 576 volunteers who have committed to support patients and visitors at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, many of whom have volunteered with the Trust for at least five years. 193 volunteers are aged between 16 and 25, and the Trust’s oldest volunteer is 96 years old.

Carrie Mckenzie, Voluntary Services Manager for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Every day our volunteers make a vital contribution to improving patient and visitor experience, enhancing services, and helping others at a time when they are most in need. Volunteering is also a very rewarding experience, and a great way to give back to the local community – and for that we thank them.”

David Drabble, who helps out on the daycase unit at Weston Park Hospital, giving tea, biscuits and dinners and talking to them to give them support, said: “I had cancer 24 years ago, and I vowed when I had time, I would like to help out. I’ve become friends with lots of lovely people, and the staff are superb. We all need someone to talk to apart from family at times, and volunteering is important as it helps staff to get one with the treatments and care.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recruits volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds aged 16 and over. No qualifications are needed as full training is provided. The Trust’s voluntary services are delivered in partnership with Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

National Volunteers’ Week is run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).




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