Kettering General Hospital aims to double army of volunteers

Ambition to create one of the largest volunteer forces in the NHS

Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:47 am
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:54 am
Some of the hospital’s 140 volunteers in their new volunteering polo neck shirts

Kettering General Hospital aims to double its volunteer workforce and develop a wide range of exciting new posts for people of all ages over the next few months.

To mark the start of the new recruitment campaign some of our existing 140 active volunteers are pictured wearing a bright new red polo neck uniform with KGH Volunteers written on it.

Our ambition - working closely with Northampton General Hospital – is to create one of the largest volunteer forces in the NHS that is representative of our local community.

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KGH’s Volunteering Manager, Christine Hardy, said: “Our volunteers have done an amazing job supporting our front-line staff during the pandemic and we want to build on that.

“We already have a variety of roles that people can get involved with and our plan is to expand this considerably to get more young people interested in volunteering.

“Volunteering can bring you great satisfaction whatever your age. As a student it can help you get into university or a job and may inspire you to go on to work in the NHS.

“If you are currently out of work or looking for a change of direction it can be a valuable way of showing your worth to future employers.

“If you have retired it is an amazing way of connecting with other people that care about their local community and make an important contribution to your local hospital.”

Volunteers say give it a try – it has tremendous rewards for all ages

Esele Okondo, 18, from Kettering, volunteered at KGH for six months during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. He is now waiting to go to the University of Oxford in October to work towards becoming a doctor.

He said: “I am passionate about volunteering and enjoyed every second of my experience with KGH.

“The reason I wanted to volunteer was to make a difference. The NHS, and the staff working within it, do so much for each and every one of us every day.

“I wanted to support them in any way I could, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I did what I could to help at crazy time.

“Volunteering at KGH was a real eye-opener for me. I was a care courier and delivered items to patients from their families when visiting was suspended.

“I was also a pharmacy runner taking charts and medicines up to the hospitals wards which enabled hospital staff to focus their efforts elsewhere.

“Because I want to be a doctor volunteering at the hospital placed me within a medical setting in which I could learn from the people around me and collate valuable experience as well as skills which I can use long into the future.”

Retired nurse Sherry Stokes, 74, from Gretton, has been a KGH volunteer for the last 18 months supporting the vaccination clinic*, the We Care Café and most recently on the Skylark children’s ward. (*early in the pandemic these were held at KGH)

She said: “It is nice to be involved in work that really helps people. As an ex-nurse I knew I would be comfortable talking to people and supporting them - and volunteering felt like an ideal opportunity to do that in a meaningful way.

“I had great fun in the vaccination centre where there was an amazing team spirit. At the We Care Café I supported staff who were tired after shifts in the Covid wards. On the children’s ward I supported parents, children and staff which was great fun and very satisfying.

“I would very much urge anyone out there who wants to do something to help others to consider becoming a hospital volunteer.”

Group Head of Volunteer Services (Interim), Emma Wimpress said: “We want to expand volunteering at both hospitals so that we can develop the largest volunteering workforce in the NHS at KGH and NGH.

“We also want to make it representative of our local community so are looking for people of all ages to come and join us at both hospitals.

“If you want to gain some valuable experience in a hospital in readiness for a future career in care, or just have some time on your hands and want to support your local community, we would love to hear from you.”

Kettering General Hospital’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Paula Kirkpatrick, said: “Our volunteers play an incredibly important role supporting our patients, staff and visitors. They are cheerful, hard-working and are great ambassadors for the hospital.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who have worked with us throughout the pandemic and invite anyone else with an interest in becoming a volunteer to come and join us.”

KGH volunteers carry out a wide range of activities including:

Supporting patient care alongside ward staff, chatting to patients, serving drinks, playing games and other activities to make a stay in hospital that little bit more pleasant

Meeting and Greeting people who arrive in our main receptions, A&E, and other departments like our Same Day Emergency Care department.

Working in the We Care Café - a socially distanced area on the hospital site where staff decompress and relax in their breaks with free tea and coffee and snacks. This was a vital support service during the height of the Covid waves.

Care Courier service - A patient belongings delivery service ensuring people can have their own clothes and other personal items delivered to them while in hospital

Pharmacy drivers and runners – delivering medications to patients at home (even though shielding isn’t always needed now some people are still not confident in going out), and directly to our wards. Up to half of all medications are now delivered to our teams by volunteers to free-up front-line staff.

Hospital Radio – this was re-launched at KGH on January 27, 2020, and is entirely staffed by volunteers.

To become a volunteer you will receive training and support and be able to choose a role which suits your background and preferences. If you are interested in volunteering at KGH go online to our website : https://www.kgh.nhs.uk/volunteering, email us on [email protected] and follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/kghvolunteers?lang=en

If you want to volunteer at NGH go to: https://www.northamptongeneral.nhs.uk/Volunteering/Volunteering.aspx and follow us on twitter https://twitter.com/nghvolunteers