National Volunteers Week, from June 1 to 7, aims to highlight the fantastic contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.
A wide range of volunteering opportunities are available at Gloucestershire Care Services, from helping with ward meals at one of the Trust’s seven community hospitals to carrying out surveys, help with transport through a ‘transport buddies’ scheme and conversation partners.
Richard Hobbs, volunteer co-ordinator at the Trust, said: “There are plenty of opportunities for anyone wanting to volunteer – whatever their age and ability – and we welcome applications.”
“Each of our community hospitals also has a vibrant and active League of Friends, which are made up of volunteers and happy to receive more support.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Trust can contact Richard Hobbs, volunteer co-ordinator, on 0300 421 8363
Volunteer case studies
Stroud General Hospital – Janet Smith
Janet Smith has been volunteering at Stroud General Hospital for 10 years and said she wanted to give something back having had a ‘fantastic service’ from the hospital throughout her life.
She said: “The reason I got involved was because this hospital has been important to me for my whole life.
“I was here 71 years ago as a three year old when I stayed for three months with a fractured skull. When I was 19 I had my appendix out here – I was in for 10 days and it’s a day case now!
“My son was born here. When my husband was very ill he received great support here. I can’t speak highly enough of the NHS and the hospital.”
Conversation partners – speech and language therapy
Pippa, Simon, Catherine and Victoria are volunteering with the Trust’s speech and language therapy service based at Cheltenham General Hospital, and are training to be conversation partners to give service users the opportunity to practise conversation.
All four are interested in a career in speech and language therapy and looking to enhance their future careers by volunteering.
Victoria, 20, said: “I’m looking into a career in speech and language therapy but I have always had an interest in communication difficulties because my mum is deaf. So I always lived with her having issues with communication and always wanted to help people who have similar sorts of difficulties.”
Pippa, 27, said: “I was an au pair for a child with Down’s Syndrome and I had to learn on the spot how to communicate with him. I really enjoyed the experience and it’s made me think about whether I would like to do a degree in speech and language therapy.”
Cirencester Hospital – Bertha, Guy and Robin
Bertha Hughes has been volunteering for 15 years, performing a range of jobs at Cirencester Hospital including working in the shop, taking menus to patients for them to select meals and distributing patient surveys.
She said: “I’d retired and wanted something to do. One of my friends worked in the shop and invited me to come in – and I’ve been here ever since! It makes me feel useful, rather than sitting at home doing nothing.”
Guy Wheatley, 66, was a porter for 42 years but returned to Cirencester hospital three months after retiring in June last year and takes patients to a mobile hairdressing salon that visits each week.
He said: “I just couldn’t sit at home – all the staff knew me, all the patients knew me. So I came back.”
Robin MacWinnie, 75, spent her career in nursing and has been a volunteer for 10 years, helping run a hospital shop. She said: “As a nurse you always feel an affinity for the hospital and it’s a real social hub as well. Working in the shop you get to meet and know the patients, meet the visitors and it’s lovely to have a chat with them.”