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Volunteers tell their stories for Thank A Volunteer Week

As we celebrate Thank A Volunteer Week 2017, a few of our volunteers have share their stories on why they enjoy the role and the rewards it brings for them and those they help.
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Yvonne Armstrong – Royal Cornwall Hospital

After losing her husband Douglas, Yvonne joined RCHT as a volunteer in March 2009. It was a return to familiar surroundings as she had worked in the Payroll Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals for 22 years.

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It was time for a change and Yvonne was recruited as one of the first hospital guide volunteers. She really enjoyed the role, so much so that when the opportunity arose to appoint a new coordinator, she jumped at the chance.

“Volunteering is a great way to make friends,” says Yvonne. “I have worked with Maureen and Jean on Trelawny Reception since I began volunteering back in 2009 and we have gone on to become extremely good friends.”

When a vacancy arose in the refreshment services based in the Sunrise Centre Yvonne was keen to do another half day shift. “I feel that I am doing something worthwhile. You get more out of volunteering than you put in and I do need a project!” As if two volunteer roles wasn’t enough, when the Macmillan Cove Centre opened in November 2016, Yvonne volunteered to help in the café and enjoys her Thursday afternoons working with Richard.

Yvonne is an active member of the Friends of Royal Cornwall Hospital and was responsible last year for the fundraising activity of the Friends when they were Sainsbury’s charity of the year or the second year running. The partnership with the store raised over £23,000! Yvonne also helps at a variety of fundraising events, from tombolas to garden parties. As she says, “Through volunteering I have made friends, the social side is fantastic, we get to know the patients

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Kate York – St Michael’s Hospital

When Kate moved to her present home, she always wanted to volunteer. After seeing an advert for St Michael’s hospital and answering it, Kate has been happily volunteering in the Friends Snack Bar for over 8 years.

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Kate really enjoys volunteering but says the only downside is the smell chocolate which is always very tempting!

Kate says it made her feel better to see so many people and to be able to give something back to her community. “I really enjoy talking to patients and their friends and family.”

Outside of volunteering at St Michael’s Hospital, Kate and her rescue terrier Scamp, enjoy daily walks. Kate also loves gardening but doesn’t have such a big garden these days and has even laid plastic grass to make things easier!

Kate’s other hobbies include sugar craft but she says, above all, she is a very sociable lady who loves meeting friends and talking to people.

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Volunteer Profile – Rev. Robin Grigg, Volunteer Chaplain

Robin was previously a member of the chaplaincy team which covered a wide area of Cornwall. He retired 7 years ago and when he and his wife moved to Truro he was able to join the chaplaincy team again, but this time as a volunteer.

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“I love being able to support the team when the need arises,” Says Robin. “I feel privileged to walk alongside those that are sick and to talk to those of faith and no faith.”

Robin has been a patient himself and having received excellent treatment feels that he now would like to give something back. He says he enjoys the volunteer role as a non-clinical person. He feels he has time for patients, their families and friends. He enjoys being with and listening to people: giving time to them wherever they are, at any stage of their lives – gives him great satisfaction.

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Lydia Stephens – Royal Cornwall Hospital

“I am always impressed when I meet a 16 year old who expresses an interest in volunteering,” says Voluntary Services Administrator, Patzy Dalby. “It takes a lot of commitment for one so young and so I was particularly impressed with one such student volunteer, by the name of Lydia Stephens.”

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Lydia joined RCHT’s army of volunteers in January 2017 and is currently studying health and social care at Truro College. Lydia helps out on the Friends of the Royal Cornwall Hospital coffee shop, has been instrumental in assisting our newer student volunteers on dementia support and also finds time to help out as a patient experience volunteer. This is all on top of her part time job.

Of the three roles she has undertaken, Lydia says she enjoys volunteering in the coffee shop the most because ‘it’s very relaxed, friendly and I get to speak to lots of people who love to chat.’

So how has Lydia found the experience so far? “I have learnt how to communicate more effectively. It has also given me a lot of confidence and pushed my boundaries.” She also says that she feels relaxed in other people’s company and feels it has pushed her to aim high and be more ambitious.

In the short time that Lydia has been volunteering with us she has made lots of friends – both young and old – proving that age is no barrier for making friends.

So what does the future hold for Lydia? “I would like to study for a nursing degree at Treliske. I love Cornwall and would like to stay on here.”

Freya Cloake – Royal Cornwall Hospital

Theresa Oheneba-Dornyo – Royal Cornwall Hospital

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering at any of our hospitals, call the Voluntary Services office on 01872 253737, email rch-tr.voluntaryservices@nhs.net or CLICK HERE
Added on July 14, 2017, in News - General News