We asked our Community Wellbeing Officer and Hospital Volunteer manager to take us on a journey of a day in her role. Below we discover the people she meets and the amazing energy and co-working in Warrington and Halton hospitals.

A day in the life of a Hospital Volunteer Manager – Abbey Forshaw

Today I visited an intermediate care ward at Halton Hospital to introduce one of our Hospital Volunteer’s to Joyce*, a young lady who had been on the ward for several months and was looking to access some social support.

Joyce, like many people we meet, had been introduced to us as a referral from social services to our community wellbeing team. One of our most experienced community wellbeing officers carried out Joyce’s initial wellbeing assessment and from there referred her to me to introduce her to one of our hospital volunteers to provide her with some companionship and support.

Sharon*, a member of our volunteer team had previously supported patients on the intermediate care ward and has built good relationships with the staff and knows the ward and the hospital well. Sharon also had a similar hospital experience here, so in her I believed we might find a good fit for Joyce.

We assisted Joyce down to the café where we she met Sharon properly for the first time. We chatted about her hobbies and interests over a hot chocolate and Joyce disclosed that weekends were particularly negative for her in the hospital environment, so it was nice to have somebody to talk to and help her start the week positively. We spent the next couple of hours conversing about her life and Sharon shared her experiences as well. It was immediately clear that they shared a mutual bond for what they had both been through, they connected instantly and I knew they made a good partnership.

My role as Hospital Volunteer Manager also includes engaging staff and providing them with the skills to support our volunteers to ensure they have a meaningful and fulfilling experience working with Wellbeing Enterprises and the Warrington and Halton Hospital Volunteer group. Upon returning to the ward, I updated the Ward Manager of the support plan we had put in place and clarified her role in supporting Sharon’s role when she is on the ward.

Joyce was extremely grateful and thanked us for making her day much brighter. In this is the art of our work, the care here at Warrington and Halton hospital is excellent and the simple opportunity to connect to new people and engage on a personal, non-clinical terms has made a real difference to how well Joyce feels in herself.

My afternoon followed as many do when I’m on site, delivering an induction programme to a new cohort of our hospital volunteers. As part of their induction programme they attend a full-days training that equips them with the skills and knowledge to be able to volunteer within the hospital trust. They attend a morning session ran by the Trusts’ Educational Department that covers areas such as WHH behaviours, health and safety and information governance before they have a spot of lunch and meet with me in the afternoon.

I spend the afternoon with the group, teaching skills for motivating themselves and others, what wellbeing means to us, to the staff and patients and what promoting a wellbeing movement within the hospital means to them. Together we discuss the various roles that are available; there is a whole scale of opportunities to support the hospital staff departments, everything from providing companionship at the bedside to administrative roles. Everyone has skills to offer, we help them discover their talents and find roles that make them feel confident and valued. A key part of this is helping our volunteers understand what it can be like going from a person to a patient, what this can mean for people and the challenges we can help them with to feel well in themselves in hospitals.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities at Warrington and Halton Hospitals Trust please contact the volunteers team on 01925 66 2855 or volunteers@whh.nhs.uk, we look forward to hearing from you!

* please note that patient and volunteer names have been changed.

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