Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating its volunteers for the nationally celebrated Volunteers’ Week this week.
Volunteers’ Week takes place annually on 1-7 June and is an opportunity to celebrate volunteering and thank the contributions of volunteers who give up their own time and efforts to make a difference in the community.
There are approximately 680 volunteers across Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, in a variety of roles for BabyBeat, the Rosemere Café, the Royal Voluntary Service, MacMillan, Stroke Association, MS Society, Families and Babies, Action for Blind, Guillain-Barre and Pets as Therapy.
Sylvia Turner, Volunteer Services Manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “Volunteers make a massive difference to our organisation and their dedication is second to none. We currently have nearly 700 volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 95. They carry out a diverse range of activities and work across all areas in the hospitals from working on hospital radio, to assisting patients at meal times and generally engaging and supporting patients. Their contribution cannot be lightly underestimated, giving their time so generously.”
One volunteer, Joan Hardcastle, has just retired at 96 years of age, following 60 years as a volunteer, mainly with the Royal Voluntary Service. Joan spent 48 of the 60 years that she volunteered in the hospital service, lately on the Book Trolley and then with the Chaplaincy Team.
Sylvia said: “Joan was well known around the hospitals and always had time to stop and chat to the patients whilst assisting them and recommending books to choose. She was a valuable volunteer member and will be missed, although no doubt she will pop in from time to time to keep us on our toes.”
There are numerous benefits of volunteering. It gives volunteers a chance to help people in the local community, give something back, and make a difference. It increases social skills and helps to make new friends and acquaintances. It gives most volunteers a feel good factor to help others and take their minds off their own worries and day to day problems. For younger volunteers, it can also help in a career choice and with development, increase self-confidence and communication skills.
Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are so grateful to all of our volunteers who give their time so generously to support our patients and their families. We have a huge variety of volunteers who have been with us for so many years, and make a huge difference to our organisation. We want to say a huge thank you to all of our volunteers for consistently going above and beyond to help and support our patients and visitors.”