How do we articulate the value of volunteers? The kind words, someone to sit with you, listen and talk to you, someone to help you find your way when you are lost? All of us are patients or relatives of a patient at some stage in our lives and we all know how much we would appreciate a volunteer beside us.
Our volunteers are often hidden heroes and heroines; they often want to blend into the background and give their time selflessly not for thanks or praise – and as an organisation we fully appreciate this and thank them for this; however on the other side we need to ensure that our volunteers feel valued and treasured. And National Volunteers Week is a time when we can do that.
There is no doubt that our volunteers, as part of our ULHT family have given us so much over the years and those that have been able to be with us during the COVID-19 pandemic have been a godsend and we thank them all for this. We also do not want to forget many of our existing volunteers who have been shielding and isolating at home – we have missed them terribly but it’s more important that they kept safe and well so they can come back to us when things are settled once more; after all as family we have to look after our own!
Volunteers are not with us to replace staff; nor are they here to fill staffing gaps and undertake roles that staff should be doing; they have a unique and distinct role supporting our staff and services and most importantly our patients. In a changing NHS world and even more so in a COVID-19 world we have been thinking of new and widened volunteer roles, we are being creative as we build and develop Voluntary Services. This week in National Volunteer Week we are celebrating our volunteers through these messages and flyers each day; we wish we could bring them all together for tea and cake and hugs and handshakes…..but in this COVID-19 world we just can’t right now….those hugs will keep though.
In the meantime:
- If you are a volunteer then thank you so much!
- If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer then please get in touch!
- If you have a volunteer in your team or service then please reach out to them especially this week and check they are ok and say thank you!
And all of you – watch out each day for a new Volunteer information, messages and stories.