Role of volunteers recognised at tea party

News: Volunteers Tea Party - Aug 2011
Volunteers share their experiences and views over tea and cakes

Cakes, sandwiches, scones, teas and coffees were laid out for the 55 volunteers who attended on the Volunteers’ Tea Party at the Memorial Hospital recently.

According to Social Inclusion Project Manager, Japleen Kaur, the event was a thank you to show the trust’s appreciation and acknowledge all our volunteers, and to gain insight into how they feel about volunteering. Linda Sanders, the Voluntary Services Manager and her assistant, Julie Langford, combined forces to make the afternoon a great success.

It began with an ice breaker quiz which involved mingling with the crowd and trying to complete as many questions as possible, everyone got really involved and enjoyed themselves and made friends along the way. There was a prize draw with gift vouchers and a digital radio to be won.

An inspirational speech by Oxleas Deputy Chief Executive, Helen Smith, really connected with the volunteers. She described her experience as a 16-year-old volunteer and how this lead on to her career in mental health services.

One of the volunteers said that if: “Helen could start with such humble beginnings and reach where she has today, I’m sure if I stick to the scheme I could do it too some day”. Japleen said: “Things like that really make all the hard work worth while.”

Japleen again: “The volunteers had a chance to hear about each others experiences which allowed them to feel part of something greater, a community. As many of them volunteer in isolation and it can get a bit lonely we saw that these kinds of events allow them to make friends and build their own social networks.

“We also learnt from our volunteers about what we are doing well and what we could improve and we asked them what they gain from volunteering. The information gained will all form part of service development and evaluation of our volunteering schemes and also develop more services that keep the service user at the heart of everything we do.

“We recognise that for every NHS trust aiming to improve the experience of their patients, engaging their local community, and maintaining the reputation of their organisation volunteers are essential to their success.

“Feedback from all those who attended was very positive, all the volunteers were glad to be making these connections, they appreciated the Certificate of Achievement which was made especially for each individual who attended the day.“

Volunteers have had a part to play in healthcare and have been an essential resource in the NHS since it began in 1948. They have made, and continue to make, a unique and valuable contribution to the experience of patients, visitors and staff. Oxleas has approximately 150 active volunteers.

Related information

Published on 17th August 2011