Alan gives his time and energy to helping others

5th November 2020

Alan Miller

Submitted by Lynn McCormack, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Alan Miller joined the volunteer service in 2004 as a buggy driver, having previously worked at the Royal Victoria Infirmary as Head Porter. Alan is someone who can be relied upon for advice and support, someone who will go that extra mile to help new volunteers joining the service. He is now a trainer for the buggy, as any new volunteers must be trained to prove they are safe to drive passengers around the Trust and Alan is always happy to do this.

Alan spends a lot of time at the hospital training new drivers, he also makes sure that the buggy is safe to drive. He works closely with the company who supply the buggies and the estates department, manages the rotas (which can be a headache in itself) to make sure he has enough drivers to operate the service 7 days a week. As well as also driving himself some days he comes in on his days off to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Alan Miller mask

During Covid he continued to visit the hospital to make sure the buggies still operate and when the service was able to be reinstated, helped train new drivers into the service. He managed with a limited number of volunteers to get the service back up and running 5 days per week, advising all the drivers on health and safety and new Covid 19 safety measures, which included wearing a mask at all times and cleaning the buggy after every trip. This meant the volunteer service could be reinstated and offer a shorter service until visitors restrictions were lifted. He was at the hospital every day, making sure the drivers were okay and the service continued to operate, nothing is an issue for Alan. He even helps at the main entrance, offering masks to visitors and advising them to wash their hands before coming into the site.

Alan has offered support and advice to the Volunteer Manager, looking at ways to introduce a buggy service at another hospital. He took time out of his day to pop to another site to check and measure turning spaces and corridor space, offering advice on the possibility of using this service; again going that extra mile to help out.

Alan also co-founded and became Chair of the Trusts Inflame Group who provide support to patients with inflammatory Arthritis, a position he held for many years until he had to stand down due to ill health of his wife Jean. When not at the Trust he finds time to be involved with various Dementia Groups such as Singing for the Brain, whilst visiting his wife who is now in a care home.

Alan gives his time and energy to helping others and always goes that extra mile. He is a well respected volunteer within the service and is known for always offering a helping hand when needed. He helps the paid staff in the volunteer shop, lifting, picking up items from other departments in the hospital, never thinking of himself but only of others.

Alan has made such a difference to the Trust and is someone who can be replied upon and demonstrates that he is prepared to go that extra mile. If it wasn't for Alan the buggy service would not be back up and running, which would leave members of the public and patients without any kind of help getting from place to place. Alan is worthy of the Helpforce wall of fame.