Gazette letters: NHS and volunteers
PUBLISHED: 08:30 06 June 2020
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Across Whittington Health NHS Trust we have been humbled by the support and generosity we have received. From making and delivering thousands of hot meals, donating chocolates, hand-creams and other treats, providing NHS staff with freebies and discounts, to the team of volunteer flight and cabin crew who have set up a ‘first class lounge’ in our hospital, your kindnesses have been overwhelming.
Incredibly, our Covid-19 staff emergency welfare fund has topped £100,000. This money is being spent on things like new furniture for staff rest areas, little things to make things easier for staff such as mobile phone chargers, and food, drinks and snacks to keep them going.
We have also been able to provide discharge packs with essential food and toiletries for patients when shop stocks were low or because they could not get out because they needed to shield themselves.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us, donated to us, clapped for us, sent cards, letters and emails or simply stayed at home to stop the spread. When things were tough, it really did feel like as a community, we really were all in it together.
This Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7), Royal Voluntary Service would like to say a huge thank you to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have stepped forward to help their communities and to support the NHS during the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, writes Sam Ward, deputy CEO and director of services, Royal Volunteer Services.
We are incredibly grateful and proud of our army of volunteers for readily adapting services to ensure those who need our support, have it – isolation shouldn’t mean coping alone.
Many volunteers who gave their time in hospitals or ran lunch and social clubs now take meals or groceries to the doorsteps of our participants, and we’ve donated our stock from our shops and cafés to NHS staff working on the front line.
Volunteers who supported clients on a one-to-one basis now call them each week for a chat and to make sure they’re safe and well, and patient transport services have continued, ensuring patients can safely attend medical appointments.
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Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we have opened the Virtual Village Hall on Facebook, where those experiencing isolation and disruption can find community and fun activities to try, all from the comfort and safety of home.
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us all, but there have been rays of light shining through as a result; 600,000 people are now NHS Volunteer Responders, providing much needed support to people isolating from coronavirus, and we hope that moving forward, more people will be inspired to volunteer in their communities.
Many of our volunteers have themselves had to isolate, and we look forward to being able to meet them again.
To all of our volunteers, who give their time so generously and selflessly to help others, we thank you.
As St John Ambulance celebrates Volunteers’ Week I would like to thank everyone who makes our amazing charity what it is – especially at a time when demand on our services is increasing and our people are playing vital roles in protecting people, supporting our health service and saving lives, writes Ann Cable, chief commissioner, St John Ambulance.
This year – more than ever – St John volunteers are rallying to the aid of communities, caring for patients at home and in hospitals across the country. They are giving their time to work in emergency departments, crew ambulances, and respond to 999 calls, putting their training, experience and professional skills to exemplary use during the coronavirus pandemic. It is a truly amazing response that has resulted in the biggest mobilisation of St John Ambulance’s volunteers since WWII.
Thousands of our people are on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and we all owe them our thanks.
But I would also like to take this opportunity to thank thousands more of the hidden heroes within St John Ambulance: from our Badgers and Cadets – young people, whose energy, enthusiasm and creativity in supporting our charity knows no bounds – through to our Fellowship volunteers, Priory Groups and Presidents, who are our ambassadors, advocates and fundraisers in every county of England, plus all of the experts in logistics, communications, IT and other specialisms without whom none of our work would be possible.
In this ongoing health emergency, everyone at St John Ambulance is here for each other and here for you; in the forefront of the battle against coronavirus and behind the scenes. Please join me in thanking our incredible volunteers.
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