Mealtime Buddy volunteers at Epsom and St HelierWhether it’s playing the piano, delivering library books to the wards, helping people find their way around or simply keeping patients company, Epsom and St Helier hospitals could have the perfect volunteering opportunity for you.

Over 500 volunteers give their time to the hospitals each week, providing a range of services and offering additional help to patients and visitors. Lynn Godfrey-James, Head of Patient Experience explained: “We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from our volunteers, and are always on the lookout for more people to get involved.

“Our volunteers are an integral part of day-to-day life at Epsom and St Helier: running the hospital shops and serving refreshments in the tea bars; delivering newspapers and helping patients enjoy mealtimes on the wards; and keeping our hospital radio stations on-air 24-hours a day. Whatever their role, every volunteer makes a difference.

The next Volunteer Information Event will take place at St Helier Hospital on Monday 6 February 2017, from 5-7pm at St Helier Hospital. For more information, please visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/volunteer. To book your place, please email voluntary.services@esth.nhs.uk or call 01372 735079.

“Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity for people from all walks of life: we have people of all ages (from 17 right up to 94) and from a range of backgrounds volunteering with us, each of whom brings with them a unique set of skills, interests and experience. With more than 20 different roles available, I think there truly is something for everyone to get involved in – we’ve even welcomed a small band of musicians to some of our wards as we know how beneficial music can be to recovery.

“Most people choose to volunteer as a way of ‘giving back’ to the hospitals, but volunteering isn’t just about giving – it’s also about what you get back from the experience. Being a volunteer is an opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and gain experience of what it is like to be part of the hospital team. Most of all, it can be extremely enriching and rewarding.”

The trust has a dedicated Voluntary Services Department which oversees the recruitment and day-to-day support of volunteers at the trust, working in close partnership with the charitable organisations which also provide volunteer-led services and raise funds for the hospitals. Lynn added: “We have a strong support system in place for our volunteers, which follows them right from the moment they first get in touch with us, guiding them through the recruitment and induction process, and on into their time as a volunteer.

“The first step on the journey to becoming a volunteer is getting in touch with the team and arranging to attend one of our information events, which we hold throughout the year. This event is an opportunity to find out about volunteering in greater detail, including the work of the charitable groups that support the trust, and to ask any questions. The next event is at the beginning of February – I look forward to meeting lots of new faces there!”

Tim Hamilton, Director of Communications and Board-level lead for improving the patient experience, said: “Each week our volunteers give an average of 1,700 hours to our hospitals, which adds up to a phenomenal 88,400 hours per year! However, the value of what they do isn’t just about time – it’s about the difference volunteers make, individually and collectively, to our patients, visitors and staff.

“I’d like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering to get in touch – the New Year is an ideal time to start a new venture, and volunteering with us could be just what you’ve been looking for!”

For more information about supporting Epsom and St Helier hospitals, please visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/get-involved. You can also join our 7,700 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/epsom_sthelier) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/epsomsthelier).