The invaluable work volunteers do to support services and patients at two local NHS trusts was recognised on Friday (2 June) in a joint picnic celebration held at Norwich Cathedral to mark the beginning of Volunteers’ Week.
Around 100 volunteers who work for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) enjoyed a grand picnic lunch set within the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral to thank them for the time they give to local NHS patients.
The High Sheriff of Norfolk, James Bagge presented volunteers with certificates of recognition and talked to them about the rewards and challenges of the work they do. Dawn Collins, Deputy Director of Nursing at NSFT and Anna Morgan, Director of Nursing and Quality at NCH&C welcomed volunteers to the event.
Volunteers’ Week, which this year runs from 1 to 7 June, celebrates the contribution made by millions of people across the UK who donate their time to help others. With a series of national and local events it’s not only about showing appreciation for existing volunteers but also raising awareness of volunteering opportunities with organisations such as NSFT and NCH&C and explaining how to get involved. Those who received an invite to the special event had the chance to share their experiences with other volunteers and talk about why they volunteer and what it means to them. They were also treated to live music and many took advantage of Cathedral tours of the stunning grounds, which ran throughout the afternoon.
Dawn Collins, Deputy Director of Nursing, NSFT said: “The gift of time really matters and we wanted to show our appreciation for the continued passion and enthusiasm volunteers have for our Trust. Volunteering can be very rewarding, a chance to gain experience and make a difference in your local community. The support volunteers give our staff in delivering care to patients really makes a difference.”
Anna Morgan, Director of Nursing, NCH&C added: “We very much appreciate our volunteers who give their own time to work alongside our wide range of services. Their support is invaluable and this event, in these wonderful surroundings, is a great way for us to show our appreciation and thanks for all that they do. We hope this event highlights how much we value volunteers and will encourage other people thinking about volunteering to join us.”
Volunteers fulfil a variety of roles at both NHS Trusts, from helping with therapeutic gardening and rehabilitation activities, to befriending and assisting at mealtimes.
Kim Boggan, Talent for Care Lead at NSFT said: “We currently have a range of opportunities on offer and NSFT volunteers can expect to receive full training and ongoing support throughout their time with us. Volunteering provides the opportunity to learn new skills or use existing ones and meet new people within a dynamic and caring environment.”
Around 100 volunteers currently work with NSFT in both Norfolk and Suffolk, meeting and greeting service users and carers as they arrive at clinics, helping with occupational therapy sessions and visiting patients with their 'pets as therapy' dogs. They are encouraged to make use of their own skills and interests, with one keen photographer currently running teaching sessions and a complementary therapist offering Indian head massage.
Kim added: “For many, volunteering with us is a great career opportunity, whether you are looking to work in mental health or enhance your CV with some valuable experience.”
Jules Alderson, Volunteer Service Manager at NCH&C said: “It’s important for us that we take the time to get to know our volunteers and find the role that suits them best. Our volunteer team ranges from students looking to gain experience for their future careers, to people in their 80’s who are able to share their life experiences and skills to support others.
“As a community trust we are fortunate to be able to offer such a wide range of opportunities, from providing companionship to patients on the ward, supporting parents and their children at a Sure Start centre to getting involved in outreach work supporting sex workers with the Matrix Project. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, and to do something that makes a difference to others in the community.”
To find out how you can volunteer and make a difference, contact:
NSFT: Email email@example.com, call 01603 421564, or visit www.nsft.uk/volunteer
NCH&C: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01603 272336, or visit http://www.norfolkcommunityhealthandcare.nhs.uk/Get-involved/volunteering.htm
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