Airedale Hospital is celebrating the amazing difference volunteers make to patients every day during this year’s national volunteers week, which runs from 1-7 June, and telling people about all the fantastic volunteering opportunities at the Trust.
As part of the celebrations colleagues will be holding an information stall to highlight and promote the roles and services provided by the volunteers and the generous pieces of equipment donated to the hospital by the Friends of Airedale charity.
Since Airedale opened nearly 50 years ago, it has been helped and supported by hundreds of volunteers and there are now over 350 registered hospital volunteers working in over 30 different areas and roles across the hospital site. The Friends of Airedale Hospital charity raises funds through its shops, mobile ward trolley service and car boot sales which are all run by volunteers. The funds raised are donated back to the hospital through the purchase of vital pieces of hospital equipment, and recently have included recliner chairs for the neonatal unit and a neoblue unit for the maternity ward. Other services offered to the hospital by volunteers include running the patient transport service, guides to direct people around the hospital and having mealtime assistants to support vulnerable patients on the wards.
There are also volunteers in other areas of the hospital including the neonatal unit and the haematology and oncology day unit (HODU) – all of whom share their precious time to provide those extras that make a difference for patients and their relatives at the hospital.
Ian Shepherd has been a volunteer with Friends of Airedale for six years in the patient transport service. He says:
“Giving something back to the local community gives me great satisfaction and gives me the opportunity to meet some very interesting people. It also keeps me from getting under my wife’s feet (not really – she is a volunteer too)!
“I’d like to think that if I ever needed help, someone would be there to give it, so if you’ve ever wondered about volunteering just contact Friends of Airedale and see how you can help.”
Gurmit Jauhal, voluntary services manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:
“Our volunteers are an absolutely essential part of our hospital team and we couldn’t do it without them. We can never thank them enough for their dedication to this hospital and the patients that come here every day. The time and energy they devote is amazing – we are very lucky to have them.”
The Trust also includes a ‘volunteer of the year’ award as part of the annual staff awards – to ensure this important group are recognized for their work.
Charities across the UK will also be holding events to thank their volunteers and celebrate the power of volunteering. Last year there were over 600 events across the country, from award ceremonies to tea parties and barbecues.
For many charities the week will be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer and to encourage people to try volunteering for the first time and help people find out how, through volunteering, they can make a difference to a cause they are passionate about.