Volunteers’ Week 2021

Volunteers’  Week 2021

volunteer in a mask and plastic apron standing in the grounds of the RHN
Volunteer Mike Smith is helping out with lateral flow testing of visitors

It’s Volunteers’ Week 2021, and we’re celebrating our amazing volunteers.

During the pandemic our volunteers had to be really flexible to respond to the new reality of volunteering at the RHN. Volunteering as we knew it had to be stopped completely as the RHN was closed to visitors and other types of help were needed. But they rose to the challenge.

Twelve volunteers are helping with the roll out of family visiting, which is a real boost to patients and residents and their relatives after such a long lockdown.

A team of 12 volunteers ran a shuttle bus to Clapham Junction station which helped staff to get home at the end of their shifts. Most of these volunteers came through Richmond Council for Voluntary Services, bringing new people into the volunteer team. From May last year until March 2021, they provided almost 3,000 journeys. This meant that staff did not have to get on the small 170 bus, protecting them, and freeing up space for local people.

Last October four new volunteers were recruited to work remotely digitalising the hospital archive. This contributed to getting our archive online and accessible to a wider audience.

We are cautiously bringing small numbers of volunteers back on site. Some are already helping in the computer room. Others are supporting patients and residents at the Sunday worship services. Some volunteers continued their work supporting residents remotely – using Zoom, postcards and phone calls. Other volunteers helped out with ad hoc roles, helping with PPE logistics, giving admin support and supporting fundraising initiatives.

We have 11 new volunteers on the team; two have music therapy training and two have speech and language background. We hope they can start later this month, especially as over 100 new volunteers have contacted us about potentially volunteering. We are planning to bring back existing volunteers soon. We hope that school children can start volunteering again in September.

All volunteering is dependent on individual Covid risk assessments. We are so grateful to all our volunteers for their goodwill and patience as we go through the process of getting them back safely. We couldn’t do what we do for our patients and residents, and their families, with our wonderful volunteers. Thank you all!

If you would like to volunteer please contact volunteer co-ordinator Emma Cartwright ecartwright@rhn.org.uk