Volunteers at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) are being thanked for their support during this year’s Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June 2020).
The Trust has approximately 174 volunteers who spend their time within a range of areas, including; chaplaincy, meeting and greeting patients, volunteers based on wards and within outpatient clinics, volunteers who support the hospital radio station at West Cumberland Hospital and within the MacMillan Centre. Another 82 volunteers have also been recruited during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shelley Shaw Daly is a volunteer at Cumberland Infirmary, she became a volunteer to build up her confidence and to meet different people.
She tells her story:
"My partner, who works for NCIC, suggested that I might benefit from volunteering to build up my confidence and meet different people.
“I have been in the role since February and work two mornings a week. It has so far been just what I needed. My role as Volunteer Support, is an administrative role where I help to create marketing materials, posters, documents and assist with volunteer fairs and exhibitions.
“The volunteering team have been very encouraging and helped me start to believe in myself and my skills again. I’m giving back my time to the NHS who have been there for me in the last few years.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19, has put a spanner in the works for everyone but I have managed to do bits and pieces from home. I cannot wait to get back to work again!
“People talk about mental health a lot just now and volunteering has kept me ‘sane’. I would recommend it to anyone who has the time to give something back, whether it be a face to face role, where just a smile can be enough to support someone else, or an office job which you know will support staff to do their job even better than they do already. Win/win!”
Claire Unwin, Volunteer & Charity Development Officer at NCIC said:
“We would like to use this opportunity to say a BIG thank you to all our wonderful volunteers.
“Volunteers at NCIC play an important role in improving the overall experience our patients receive. Whether they’re providing support at events, helping out with administrative duties or providing a meet and greet service. We really appreciate all the contributions they all make by donating their time and skills to help us.
“Volunteers are an essential part of the NHS and are such a valuable asset, they are professional, enthusiastic, selfless and compassionate. They take such pride in their role and have a wonderful relationship with the staff, patients and relatives."
During the Covid-19 pandemic the Trust have also recruited an additional 82 volunteers who are ready to be deployed if needed. 44 of the volunteers are based in Carlisle, 35 in West Cumbria and 2 in Eden. 23 volunteers have already been deployed and have assisted the Trust during at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital sites.
Joseph Dean has been volunteering for the last month at the medical workforce staffing hub at the West Cumberland Hospital to help during the pandemic:
“Part of my role is to take messages of hope from patients loved ones to the wards. Over a very short period of time my role became very busy as members of the public started donating all kinds of goods to the hospital.
“I helped sort and deliver donated items to all the departments and wards to help the hospital run smoothly - making sure that everyone got something.
“There has been some sad times when some family members have been called in to the hospital to say their goodbyes to loved ones. I took some of the families to the wards and handed them over to staff so they were not on their own“When normal service resumes I will go back to my main role as a Meet and Greet helping members of the public get to the department they need to be at.
“It's been an honour and privilege to work with a hard working team of people under extraordinary circumstances.
“I'm very proud to volunteer at the West Cumberland Hospital.”
Anne Hanley, has been a meet and greet volunteer at West Cumberland hospital since 2016, she said:
"In my role as a meet and greet volunteer, I help patients who come to the hospital who may need assistance with directions, find wheelchairs, or have a query about car parking.
“If required I take them to wherever they need to be but I do this as a courtesy, sometimes people like to talk and it helps them to relax.
“I enjoy what I do and I’m looking forward to resuming my post when this crisis is over and it’s safe to do so.”
“It has been fantastic to see the response we’ve had from people willing to volunteer to help us during this time as well. Volunteering really does make a huge difference to everyone.
“We are not currently looking for volunteers however when we are in a position to do so we’ll advertise the positions via NHS jobs. People who are interested in volunteering can also register their interest with us and we will contact you if future opportunities become available.”