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Dorset HealthCare has held a special celebratory event to say thank you to the volunteers who play such a vital role in local community hospitals and other health services.
The Crown Hotel in Blandford hosted an awards ceremony for more than 60 people, who were honoured for their hard work and acts of kindness over the past year.
They enjoyed tea and cake, and were each presented with a certificate by Trust Chair Andy Willis.
Dorset HealthCare has more than 180 Trust volunteers giving up their time to support staff and help transform the lives of others across the county, along with a further 150 who volunteer as part of our League of Friends groups, and many more who fundraise for their local community hospital.
The Trust’s Lead Governor, Chris Balfe, said: “It is so important to acknowledge the hard work of our volunteers. People give their time for nothing to help others and are invaluable to the community hospitals and services they serve.”
Volunteers help with a wide range of tasks, including recreational activities with patients such as reading and playing games. They also get involved in gardening, mealtime companionship and simply talking and listening to service users.
Sandy Preen, who volunteers in the Blandford community, said: “I take elderly patients for shopping trips around the town and it is fantastic to see the happiness it brings. The older generation can often become isolated, and something as simple as this really benefits them. Making friends along the way is just a bonus.”
Patricia Hayter is part of the League of Friends at Shaftesbury Hospital. She said: “I have been volunteering for around 10 years now and I have loved every minute. It is great to feel part of a team and you quickly build strong bonds with staff and patients.
“I work in one of the hospitals kitchen’s helping out at our monthly coffee mornings and garden parties which help raise valuable funds for the hospital. Recently we were able to purchase a new vehicle for physiotherapists to use to visit people in their own homes.”
The minimum age for a volunteer is 16, although some areas ask that you are 19 and above. However, as long as you are physically able to fulfil your duties, the opportunity is open to pretty much anyone.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Trust, you can download an application form from www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk. You can also find out more by contacting the Trust’s volunteer coordinator Kim Mansbridge on 01202 443 089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.