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June 5, 2024

‘Making a difference is my mission’: Volunteers’ Week at Royal Bolton Hospital

  • Volunteers at Royal Bolton Hospital share what it means to give up their time for the NHS
  • More than 200 people volunteer as hospital guides and ward support
  • Anyone aged 16 and over can apply to be a volunteer

Volunteers at Royal Bolton Hospital are sharing what it means to them to give up their time for the NHS, as part of celebrations for Volunteers’ Week 2024.

More than 200 volunteers at the hospital have already collectively given more than 2,000 hours this year to support staff and provide comfort to patients.

There are a wide range of volunteering roles, including hospital guides, ward support and dining companion.

‘A place of hope’

Former head teacher, Margaret Singleton, signed-up to volunteer to “give something back” after receiving chemotherapy for stage two breast cancer in 2005 at the hospital’s Churchill Unit, where she now volunteers.

I was delighted when an opportunity arose to volunteer there as the Unit played a significant role in my life. It was so much more than a treatment centre, the care was world class, but beyond that, the centre became for me a place of reassurance, rehabilitation, and restoration of normality.

“Despite the dreadful disease with which it deals, the Unit is a happy place: a place of hope, or where there is no hope, of comfort and care.

“My experience as a volunteer has been an inspiration to me. I provide refreshments for patients and their friends and families, and if it’s appropriate, make conversation to try to help them relax in this unfamiliar environment.

“I have been moved by the resilience which human beings are able to show in the face of suffering. Nothing I have done has given me greater satisfaction than volunteering at the Churchill Unit.

Volunteer Silvana Rushdi wears a bright yellow tshirt16-year-old Silvana Rushdi has also found the reward in volunteering, having chosen to stay on after completing her placement hours.

Silvana spends time supporting the hospital’s wards:

I realised how important the people, and the community as a whole.

“I really enjoy meeting new patients and having wholesome conversations, and just seeing them happy lights a smile on my face.

“Volunteering makes me realise how much hard work staff put in for the people and their strong hearts have inspired me to be part of the NHS community in the future.

At every stage of life, the hospital’s volunteers are on hand to help, including some of the most precious moments.

Stephanie Egan is a volunteer on the Postnatal Ward:

Seeing the newborn babies and the proud parents is a joy. Whether it is making toast for the new mums, or tea of the staff, it is always appreciated.

“Each week is varied and I love meeting new people. It’s so nice to be able to give something back. I highly recommend volunteering, it is so worthwhile.

Volunteer Stephanie Egan wears a bright yellow tshirt

In the hospital’s Eye Unit, Keabetswe Malope has enjoyed learning new skills and said it’s making a huge difference to her life.

This has been a great opportunity for me, especially because I am an accounting student from a totally different profession. I am learning things like teamwork, good communication and hard work, especially when I see everyone making a different to make sure the patients get the best care.

“Making a difference and putting a smile on someone’s face is my mission.

The national Volunteers’ Week is a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole.

James Mawrey, Director of People and Deputy Chief Executive at the trust, said: “Volunteering is a great way of supporting us to deliver the best care and experience for our patients and visitors, and we often hear from those who volunteer with us that they find it incredibly really rewarding.

“We would like to thank every single one of our volunteers for giving us their time to help make a difference in the lives of so many people.”

Anyone over the age of sixteen can apply to help at the hospital. All volunteering opportunities are advertised on Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s vacancies page.

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