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Celebrating the compassion and commitment of our NHS volunteers

Maisy Smith, a volunteer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

For Volunteers Week (3 – 9 June), our Trust is celebrating kind-hearted volunteers who dedicate their time and effort to help patients and hospital staff.

Volunteers work in a variety of roles at Basildon, Broomfield and Southend hospitals, supporting both patients and our staff. Some of the many roles involve helping patients during mealtimes, ushering the ones having difficulty finding hospital departments for their appointments, and supporting the work of ward staff by running samples and documents between departments.

Across the Trust’s three hospitals, there are over 700 volunteers who collectively donate around 120,000 hours of voluntary service in various roles.

Jonathan Wright, Senior Voluntary Services Manager, said: “We are really fortunate to have a wonderful group of people who want to support our paid colleagues in delivering the highest standards of patient care. They give up their time, showing dedication, compassion, and commitment to helping others. We are immensely grateful for their invaluable contributions and the difference they make every day”.

Ahead of Volunteers Week, we caught up with some of our volunteers to find out what motivated them to pursue this noble, yet challenging role.

Maisy Smith, from Hockley, has been volunteering as a ward runner at Southend Hospital for nine months, collecting medical supplies, patient samples and documents and delivering them to different departments around the hospital.

She is about to start a new job at the hospital as a radiology porter and credits her voluntary work as a key factor for her success.

Maisy said: “I have learning difficulties and suffer with anxiety, but volunteering has really boosted my confidence. Working with both staff and patients, it’s nice to know that what I’m doing is helping others. Many of the staff I have dealt with have helped me with references, so it’s been a massive help. If you get a chance to volunteer, it’s definitely worth doing.”

Husband and wife Trevor and Gill Bailey, from Billericay, have been volunteering as feeding buddies on Pasteur ward at Basildon Hospital, helping patients who need support during mealtimes.

Trevor said: “My wife and I are both retired with one free day a week, so we thought it would be nice to give something back. The most amazing part of being a volunteer is seeing patients improve. We don't do this for any rewards or gratitude, we simply want to help others.”

Clive Hardy, from Chelmsford, has been a dementia volunteer at Broomfield Hospital for nine years, offering friendship and a listening ear to patients on the elderly care wards.

He said: “I’ve found volunteering extremely rewarding. The days can be very long in hospital, and patients are thrilled to talk about their memories and share whatever is on their mind. As a volunteer you’ve got time to listen, and it makes patients’ experience in hospital much more pleasant. It’s been a privilege and I would recommend it to anyone."

Anyone interested to become a volunteer at the Trust and make a real difference to the lives of patients, their families and hospital staff can do so by getting in touch with the Trust’s Voluntary Services team on: mse.msevolunteers@nhs.net

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