NHS volunteers return as pandemic restrictions ease
Volunteers’ Week, led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), takes place from 1-7 June and Dorset HealthCare is recognising the valuable contribution local volunteers make to its community hospitals and services.
During an exceptionally difficult couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people from all walks of life have given up their time and made a real difference to patients and staff.
But many were not able to undertake their normal volunteering roles due to restrictions, which was hard for them. Now that restrictions have eased, however, lots of volunteers are returning to their normal roles to give their time, skills and experience to support the NHS trust.
Eileen Waters, 82, volunteers at Blandford Hospital. Her role is varied and she turns her hand to anything staff ask her to do. She mainly brings cheer to older patients by spending time with them and playing games that evoke happy memories, such as musical bingo. She said:
“I started volunteering as I wanted to do something where I could make a difference, where you could see what you’ve done and feel what you’ve done. I leave the hospital so thrilled and delighted – it’s unbelievable.”
Ward Sister Kimberly Cameron said:
“We are ever so pleased to have Eileen back – she’s a ray of sunshine and so very valuable to us. She is fabulous with the patients, giving them her time and patience, chatting with them and showing such care.
“Many of our volunteers sit with patients, talk with them or read a paper with them. It provides them with some normality. Volunteers not only enhance the experience patients receive, but they can also gain new skills, make new friends and improve their own health and wellbeing.”
Kim Mansbridge, Dorset HealthCare’s Volunteers Development Lead, added:
“We are very lucky to have amazing volunteers who give us the gift of their time for the benefit of our patients, staff and carers. Volunteers bring such joy to our hospital wards and services with their smiles and willingness to help and support.
“If you have some spare time, we are currently looking for more volunteers to join our friendly community hospitals.”
Find out about the volunteering roles available at Dorset HealthCare by visiting our volunteers website page.
Hear more from Eileen and Kimberly by watching the short video clip below.