Make a Difference Day – Celebrating Volunteering at Weston Area Health NHS Trust

Saturday (October 27) is Make a Difference Day, run by Community Service Volunteers, which is supported locally by Weston Area Health NHS Trust.


The Trust, which runs Weston General Hospital and Community Children’s Services, is very fortunate to have more than 200 volunteers who regularly help in a number of ways.  


They befriend patients, help as mealtime assistants, offer clerical help, assist with spiritual care, and even work as gardeners!


Here are some of the reasons they give for volunteering with the Trust:


“Being able to spend time helping to encourage patients with their meals is one of the important parts of the day as seeing a patient beginning to eat makes it so worthwhile as a volunteer.”


“The most fulfilling part of the job is making a difference to the people who are coming into the hospital.  It is a wonderful thing to be part of and I have had some of the happiest moments of my life as part of this family. You meet so many nice people and make so many friends.”


“It’s better than staying at home on my own. I like to make the patients happy and get a lot of pleasure from doing my voluntary duties and like to feel helpful.”


This year’s Volunteer of the Year Pat Simmons was a typical example.


Pat has worked as a hospital volunteer for 16 years, mainly on the enquiries desk in the foyer.

Voluntary Services Manager Sue Tarpey said of her: “She genuinely cares about people and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that patients, visitors and staff are supported.”


The hospital volunteers are never afraid to take on new challenges either.


This year two of them have trained as Purposeful Activity Volunteers (PAVs) to spend time with hospital patients with Dementia - giving time for them to talk, reflect or simply enjoy some company. 


The volunteers, John Palmer and John Brabham, use Reminiscence Boxes, which are filled with items that might bring back memories to an older person.


Sue Tarpey said: “They have been very popular.  One relative who visited while John was on the ward was very pleased to find someone talking to her loved one, because they wanted to and not out of necessity.”


This is a successful project for both patients and volunteers and the Trust therefore plans to recruit more volunteers to this role in the near future.


Sue Tarpey said “Everybody wins in volunteering because the hospital gets extra help, the patients benefit from the volunteers’ involvement and the volunteers feel appreciated and part of a team.


“Many prospective volunteers tell me that they want to volunteer because they are lonely having been recently bereaved or being new to the area, and one of the best parts of my job is to witness friendships blossom between them. 


“We at the Trust would like to express our grateful thanks to all our volunteers for the time they so generously give to us.”


For further details on volunteering, please contact Sue Tarpey on 01934 647005


For media enquiries, please contact Caroline Welch, Head of Communications, on 01934 647091