Making a difference every day - volunteers at Medway

Date: 13 July 2017

Volunteers in kiosk

You make the difference!

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has more than 4,500 staff who work every day to provide high quality, compassionate care to the people of Medway and Swale.

That sounds like a lot, but in fact that gure only tells part of the story. From helping out on wards, to raising funds for hospital equipment, to supporting disabled patients, to guiding people around the hospital to running our hospital radio station – our volunteers are involved in every facet of the experience that our patients have.

Zoe Goodman, manager of the Voluntary services department at the Trust which co- ordinates much of the work of approximately 300 volunteers at Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “The contribution that volunteers give to us, and to our patients, is outstanding. Their drive and enthusiasm is second to none. My volunteers alone contribute a massive 4,000 hours per month in various locations throughout the hospital.

“What has continued to impress me is that while our volunteers are of all ages and come from all walks of life, the one thing that really stands out is the selflessness. Our volunteers turn up regularly, often for a number of days a week, because they want to do something for their community. It’s quite humbling.”

To show its appreciation, the Trust hosted a special cream tea on 9 June, thanking volunteers for their dedication.

Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive of Medway Maritime Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust would not be able to deliver the care that it does without the support of the many hundreds of volunteers and carers who support our patients and our staff every day. Not for pay, not for praise, these people are giving their time and effort to help everyone who walks through our doors. They are an essential part of our services and all of us – Trust staff and everyone in our local communities in Medway and Swale – owe them a big thank you for their hard work every day.”

Volunteering offers a chance to give something back to the community, as well as developing new skills and meeting new people. It is estimated that 35 per cent of people in England participated in volunteering over the last month.

If you would like to get involved in volunteering, please visit www.gov.uk/volunteering or if you would like to see what opportunities we have available, please call Zoe on 01634 825246.

Voluntary organisations at Medway

Alongside the Trust’s volunteer service, we have a range of volunteer and charitable organisations whose members give up their time and energy to support the hospital and its patients.

The most well-known of these is the Medway League of Friends, the fundraising charity whose shop, kiosks and trolley operate around Medway Maritime Hospital. These provide a valuable service to staff and patients as well as funds for facilities and equipment at Medway Maritime hospital and other local NHS services.

Scott Belcher, operations manager for the Friends (pictured above), said: “Our big focus is on raising money to use to bene t patients. We do this by providing grants to teams across the Trust – as well as to other NHS organisations across Medway – for additional equipment and bits and pieces that will support providing good patient care.

“Sometimes this can be substantial sums for refurbishments or expensive specialist equipment, but often its smaller things like sensory toys for the children’s A&E, recliner chairs in the maternity unit or additional mobile ECG machines. It all adds up though – our funding commitments for 2016/17 are over £400,000!”

“We have a very wide range of 125 volunteers who come and work supporting the Friends shops. The age of our volunteers ranges across 80 years, from fourteen to 94 and they often stay involved for a long time; our longest serving volunteer has been with the Friends for 37 years. We’re a very committed, but very approachable and accepting team; we have deaf and autistic volunteers, ex staff and ex patients. We also regularly take on young volunteers to support them getting their Duke of Edinburgh awards and work experience students from local schools.”

Although the Friends are the most prominent of the volunteer organisations and charities that support the patients and hospital, there are many others.

Hospital Radio Medway has been bringing music to patients and is currently looking at how they might bring their service on line to reach a wider audience; the Royal Voluntary Service snack bar in the Disablement Services Centre and a very wide range of individual charities – such as Abigail’s Footsteps – contribute time, money and equipment to the Trust throughout the year.

Thank you to all of these organisations for their invaluable continued support to our patients and staff.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Medway League of Friends, please contact Scott on mlofad@gmail.com, calling extension 3695 or popping into the main shop in the Trust lobby.

  • Summary:

    The contribution that volunteers give to us, and to our patients, is outstanding. Their drive and enthusiasm is second to none.