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Answering the call! Why our volunteers rock

09 Jun 2021 16:27:06
Volunteers Month 2021

Rotherham is celebrating Volunteers Month and we wanted to highlight some of the fantastic people who help the Trust every day.

Although this year has been tough, the Trust has still managed to retain some of our volunteers for various roles, working within the COVID-19 restrictions. 

During the first lockdown the Trust recruited Pharmacy Volunteers and Patient Communication Volunteers who assisted patients with video and phone calls to their family and friends. And now that the hospital is slowly opening up visitation, we wanted to focus on the Visitor Booking Service, which is run by Trust volunteers and helps people make appointments to see their loved ones. 

Mavis Francis, Voluntary Services Coordinator, wanted to thank all of our volunteers for their service. She said: “We have had unprecedented circumstances over the past year but our volunteers have not failed in their duty to the Trust by supporting our staff and patients.   

“Many have been standing down due to their own health and vulnerability to COVID-19, but also the health and wellbeing of their families. They are all waiting in anticipation to return to their roles. We have had some who have resigned and that is understandable, but we are looking forward to welcoming our volunteers back into the Trust as soon as restrictions are lifted further.” 

Mavis is now leading on the hospital’s Visitor Booking Service, which is run by eight volunteers who are based at RCHC. 

Mavis said: “We are taking phone calls from the public Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm and Saturday 9.30am to 12.30pm. It is a very busy role where multitasking is a key skill and I am so proud of how our volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and have adapted to this very hectic environment. 

“I know that thank you does not seem enough to honour our volunteers but we do owe them a great debt of gratitude.” 

Anita Sunderland

“Being offered the opportunity to join the Hospital Visitor Booking Service team gave me the chance to return to volunteering without direct patient contact. I was a little anxious as I hadn’t received my second jab but understood that relatives and friends had been unable to visit their loved ones during the pandemic. This situation must have been be incredibly hard. 

“Speaking with relatives making their first scheduled appointments to visit and hearing the pure joy and elation at being able to do so is priceless. That is a big part of what volunteering is all about.” 

Jane McCann

“I started as a volunteer at Rotherham hospital following my retirement. I have always enjoyed working with the public and volunteered on ward A5 until the pandemic prevented volunteers working in clinical areas. I felt valued on the ward as I helped out at breakfast and lunch times. In addition I helped the housekeepers with stocking cupboards. Whilst on the ward I developed some positive relationships with ward staff and the hostesses that provided meals. I enjoyed the interaction with patients and their visitors. Volunteering has provided me with a new network of friends and an opportunity to support patients and staff within the hospital. 

“Visiting is now opening up at the hospital and this provided an opportunity for me to work in the visitor booking service. I am enjoying this work as I am assisting visitors to visit the hospital safely.” 

Kelly Herring

“The NHS means a lot to me and seeing the inspirational work and dedication of all of its members throughout the pandemic had me asking myself ‘if not now, then when?’, about volunteering. I couldn’t stay at home when I knew that I might be able to help. 

“Volunteering lets me give something back to my local community and be a useful person, which is something I haven’t had in my life for a few years for health reasons.  

“Knowing that what I am doing could make a positive difference to a person’s day is what keeps me going. Every day I am at the Visitor Booking Service I have spoken to someone who is so very relieved that they can come and see their mum/son/sister/grandad, and it is always a pleasure to get them in ASAP.” 

Marilyn Gambles

“Volunteers have not been able to go into the hospital during the pandemic and I have missed having contact with patients and visitors. I was pleased, therefore, to volunteer to work on the Visitor Booking Service. 

“I think that having visitors when you are in hospital is important and beneficial, and I am glad to be a part of this valuable service.”