FEATURE: Trust appeals for more volunteers to get in touch

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They are described as ‘worth their weight in gold’ and Pilgrim Hospital needs more of them – volunteers.

The organisation responsible for the site, the United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust (ULHT), is appealing for people willing to give up their time in supporting the staff there to get in touch.

The trust has almost 300 volunteers on its books countywide, but numbers at the Pilgrim are not as deep as the trust would like.

“It is a difficult area to get volunteers to come on board,” said voluntary services manager Andy Tysoe, who nonetheless is optimistic the help is out there.

“I’m convinced there are just as many good human beings in the Boston area as there are anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Volunteers provide a range of support, including befriending patients, supporting them with their meals, sharing in activities and helping with general duties on wards, in outpatient departments, or in administration.

“It’s about complementing the service that clinical staff provide,” said Andy.

Among those currently complementing the service is Wyn James, 75, from Spalding.

Wyn (who is nominated for volunteer of the year in this year’s ULHT staff awards) contributes two hours a week to the orthopaedic trauma ward 3B.

She said her time there varies from supporting patients with their meals to simply having a chat with them.

“I just like helping people,” she said. “It’s amazing who you meet and what stories they have got.”

She described volunteering as a rewarding experience.

“They say to me ‘thank you for stopping by and talking to me, you have really cheered me up’,” she said.

However, the rewards do not stop there.

“Health wise, it must help the patients get better quicker so they can get home quicker,” she said. “There is a knock-on effect to everybody.”

Ward sister Becky Taylor said volunteers are ‘worth their weight in gold’, saying they can provide the type of extra attention staff would like to give to all patients, but are not always able to do so due to pressures on their time.

Andy said volunteers do not need to be from a health background and that opportunities exist off wards as well as on.

He said: “The most important thing it to be a decent, caring human being and a good listener.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should go online at www.ulh.nhs.uk/jobs/volunteering or call 01522 512512 and ask for the voluntary services department.