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Volunteer at Whipps Cross Hospital

Published: 4th April 2008 12:33
Lend a hand to Whipps


Gordon Caris, giving grateful patient, Donald Russell and lift in the buggy

Got an hour or two to spare? Got some untapped skills or knowledge? Fancy getting out of the house and meeting other people? Then you're just what we're looking for in the Volunteers team at Whipps Cross University Hospital.

The new Volunteer Manager, Chandra Vansadia explains: "Our volunteers provide vital support to our staff and we are always on the look out for more members.

"We've got a variety of people involved from young students eager to gain knowledge of the NHS, long term unemployed needing the skills and confidence to get back into work to retired professionals who have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience."

The Volunteers in Partnership Scheme (VIP) has been running for a number of years at the Trust, with Volunteers turning their hands to a variety of tasks in different departments around the hospital.

This includes administration work, running our mobile library, serving tea and sandwiches, visiting wards, befriending patients, transporting patients, meeting, greeting and directing patients, visitors and staff all over the site.

One of our original volunteers is Dickon Bowling who has been helping out at the hospital for almost six years.

Dickon, who works on the reception desk and takes the mobile library around the wards said: "I've been in hospital before, so know what it's like and felt I wanted to help out in my retirement. After 30 years as a Scientific Officer at Kew Gardens I enjoy the change.

"I've really benefited - we all need something to do to fill the  gaps and I really enjoy it - everyday you get what I call ‘treasured moments'."

Dickon also helps out in Orthodontics filing moulds, he explains: "Its great how you can put some of your skills to use - I was one of the last to be called up for national service and worked for the Royal Air Force in dentistry and now I can use those skills helping orthodontics!"

Keith Cox volunteers for two days a week on the reception desk, taking tea and sandwiches around A&E and the Medical Day Unit and chatting to patients on wards.

He said: "I'm used to dealing with different people through my old work as an Inland Revenue manager; I was also a counsellor and now a Lay Minister.

"I try and allay some fears as being in hospital is a very frightening experience for many people. I don't give any medical or religious advice, but I'm here to chat and listen to patients, hopefully presenting a nice friendly smile."

Another volunteer, Gordon Caris can often been seen driving the buggy which transport patients around the site.

He said: "Our buggy runs on electric power, so I need to make sure it's powered and ready to go at a moment's notice.

"I enjoy meeting different people and telling them stories on their way around the site. This has always been therapy for me; I get more out than I put in."

All the volunteers are interviewed and go through a criminal record and occupational health check before they can start. The Trust in turn provides various training courses to help them gain knowledge, confidence and develop life skills.

Chandra explains: "Our volunteers play a vital role in the day to day running of the hospital. "The amount of time each person volunteers is flexible and we try and match up skills or areas of interest.

"They have a wide spectrum of abilities, which we can put to good use to benefit patients, staff and volunteers themselves and we are very grateful for all the help and support they give us."

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the hospital, contact Chandra Vansadia, Volunteer Manager on: 0208 535 6772. Or email: chandra.vansadia@whippsx.nhs.uk



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