SATURDAY 5 December is International Volunteers’ Day, and volunteers – both old and new alike – have done so much to help at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust this year.
Volunteers play a vital role across the Trust and within the whole NHS, adding value in our hospitals for both patients and staff.
Lucy Thomas-Clayton, director of charity and voluntary services, said: “Without our terrific troop of volunteers, our hospitals simply could not function as they do. Though we cannot celebrate with our volunteers, we are all taking the time to say a big thank you for everything they do.
“Volunteer roles in the NHS are extremely varied, covering everything from meeting and greeting patients and visitors at hospital, to helping serve meals on the wards and supporting staff with non-clinical jobs, or even helping out in one of our charity shops. They’ve also been distributing vital PPE and wellbeing packs to staff, as well as doing temperature checks for patients.”
Before COVID-19, the Trust’s amazing 850 volunteers dedicated 3,000 hours per week to help others – that’s 600,000 hours supporting staff and helping patients receive their care each year.
One of the areas the Trust is looking at expanding is Carecar drivers for the Basildon and Thurrock area. These are volunteers who help drive patients to and from their hospital appointments.
David Storey, 68, from Prittlewell, has been a Carecar driver for the last two-and-a-half years. He said:” I’ve been doing this since I retired as it helps fill in some of my spare time and it’s good to help other people who need transport to the hospital. I also get to meet interesting people and hear lots of stories. It’s nice to be able to give something back to the NHS.”
Lucy added: “We know from speaking to our volunteers that volunteering is good for you and can help reduce loneliness and increase physical activity. We’re looking forward to welcoming back some of our familiar faces who haven’t been able to volunteer during the pandemic and those who have recently joined us.”
Are you interested in becoming a volunteer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust? Contact Jane O’Connell, volunteers manager, on 01702 435555 ext 6135 or email msevolunteers @southend.nhs.uk