1 June 2021

Volunteers have played a key part in the NHS’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and now the Trust that runs Shropshire’s acute hospitals is saying ‘thank you’.

To celebrate Volunteers Week, which takes place from 1-7 June every year, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) wants to recognise its hundreds of volunteers who carry out invaluable work at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford.

SaTH has a thriving volunteer workforce that supports patients and staff at both hospital sites. We have around 200 volunteers who have active placements and more than 300 whose activities are currently postponed due to the pandemic.

Julia Clarke, Director of Corporate Services at the Trust, said: “Throughout 2020, we saw a big change to our volunteer workforce. Many had to stop volunteering due to COVID-19 guidance, but we also saw a rise in people who wanted to join us to help out during the pandemic.

“Volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response. During an exceptionally difficult year, local people from all walks of life have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to our hospitals – just as they do every year. This is a time for us to come together and thank all volunteers for their invaluable contribution.”

Focus on the Volunteers

Mandy Eccleston

Name: Mandy Eccleston

Role: Meet and Greet

Why is volunteering important to you?

My husband passed away a few years ago and my confidence had been shattered. Becoming a volunteer at SaTH has given me that confidence back. It’s also nice to be able to give back to the NHS in a small way.

What is your favourite part of volunteering at SaTH?

Being part of a team in Phlebotomy at SaTH and helping patients and staff and I am always happy to go that extra mile.

I have met some wonderful patients; only the other week a couple who were about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and they were so funny, he said it works because he turns his hearing aids off. They both thanked me for volunteering.

Soula Joannou Windley

Name: Soula Joannou Windley

Role: Phlebotomy Reception/meet and greet (PRH)

Why is volunteering important to you?

It is important to me because I feel my help benefits the hospital and medical staff to focus on providing the best health care to their patients. I take away a huge amount of stress from them. Me being there provides more time for the phlebotomist to spend on the patient and not on patient flow. It benefits me too as I am learning new skills, gaining experience, improving on m y social skills and best of all meeting and helping people.

What is your favourite part of volunteering at SaTH?

Coming in every week and working with such wonderful people is one favourite part. But gaining satisfaction from helping patients – especially if there is an issue and problem. It really pleases me when I am appreciated by most patients and thanked when I have resolved and acted in things before I have to send them away. I like to make sure I did my best. Also, I see regular patients/clients and some know me, as I know them, by name and look forward to seeing me. I live in North Birmingham and travel to Telford is no burden or effort whatsoever as I enjoy my role there so much. If I could I would do it every day.

Name: Beatrice Shepley

Role: Response Volunteer

Why is volunteering important to you?

Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when every single member of NHS staff across the country is being tested, it seems right, as a young and healthy person to volunteer a small amount of my time to help my local trust.

I wouldn’t hesitate to go to hospital if I was in need of their care, so when they’re in need of an extra helping hand – and I’d watched what felt like every box set on Netflix during lockdown one – it was a no-brainier.

What is your favourite part of volunteering at SaTH?

The staff are so friendly, always saying hello, a lovely nurse brought us all a coffee one shift as a thank you and that gesture touched our hearts.

The families who are clearly very anxious about their relatives being in hospital tell us how grateful they are that we’re there to help, even if it’s in the smallest way.

A lot of people just want a chat whilst they’re waiting for an appointment, some haven’t left the house in over a year.

Name:  Edward Marvin

Role:  Response Volunteer

Why is volunteering important to you?

COVID-19 has created issues for the NHS and all its staff.  I am happy to support all volunteering efforts to help ensure we continue to maintain all our vital medical services.

What is your favourite part of volunteering at SaTH?

My favourite part is meeting and helping relatives to support their loved ones, and supporting the ward staff who are always very grateful for our assistance.

Get involved

If you would like to volunteer with SaTH, or know someone who would, you can contact the Volunteer team or join a drop in session where you can speak to the team and existing volunteers.

The next virtual drop in session will take place on 3 June. For more information and to register, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/volunteering-at-the-shrewsbury-and-telford-hospital-nhs-trust-tickets-153801692001

For more information contact our Volunteers Office by emailing sath.volunteers@nhs.net