DURING the last year, the NHS Isle of Wight has seen a significant increase in the number of people willing to give up their spare time to act as volunteers and contribute to the work of the NHS on the Island.   

There are currently 260 volunteers who undertake a variety of roles, one of these volunteers being Grace Tomlinson, (17) a 6th Form student from Sandown Bay Academy who started last November and gives up about 10 hours a week to support staff at St. Mary’s.

Grace said, “I heard about volunteering at the hospital from my mum and as I really enjoy talking to people and helping out, I thought I’d apply.   The work is varied but I mainly help out at mealtimes, taking trays to the patients and helping to feed them.    I also have one to one conversations with them as quite a few do not get any visitors and it’s nice for them to have the company.    I find the work really rewarding.”

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“Also, because I am in a working environment it has really boosted my confidence and my skills as I am meeting new people all the time.   I know this experience is helping to prepare me for when I leave school and start work.    I would recommend volunteering to other people of my age as I think they would enjoy it and benefit from the experiences.”

Tina Beardmore, Ward Sister, Colwell Ward, said “Volunteers are very valued members of our team.  They provide invaluable additional services particularly in spending time with patients, talking to them, assisting with nutrition and providing extras like massage or popping down the shop.    The patients also look forward to seeing them.”

All volunteers wear bright orange polo-shirts to distinguish them around the hospital.

Richard Dent, Volunteer Co-ordinator said “Our volunteers offer their time for a variety of reasons, they may have had experience at St Marys, they may want to give something back or they may wish to get experience for university or college. Many of our volunteers go onto become bank staff – which enables them to get paid shifts. Many volunteers have used the experience to their benefit at interviews for medical schools and university places.”

 The ‘NHS Isle of Wight has produced a ‘Guide to Volunteering’ which is a free magazine that has been produced to highlight the many ways volunteers can contribute to the work of the NHS. Volunteer work is extremely varied, very rewarding and highly valued by patients, visitors and staff at St Mary’s. Inside the magazine you will find information on the different voluntary roles available. There are also helpful answers to questions you may ask before considering taking up voluntary work. The magazine is available on the St Mary’s website or at various local locations across the island.

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If you feel after reading this magazine that volunteering is something you would like to try then please contact Richard Dent on 01983 822099 Ext 6246 or email [email protected]

The magazine features a variety of volunteer roles including:

  • Chaplaincy pastoral Volunteers
  • Friends of St Mary’s – Shop and coffee shops
  • Greeting Volunteers
  • Meal time volunteers

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