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Ashok dispels the myth that volunteers are only white, retired and female

11th November 2020

Ashok helpforce picture

Submitted by Antoinette Webber, Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Trust

Ashokkumar Shah is a relatively new volunteer in comparison to some of our longer standing information desk volunteers. We believe he should be recognised for his contribution to our department's commitment to improve diversity amongst our volunteers by ensuring that volunteering is available to all sections of our community and as a result providing a better service and understanding to our patients.

The demographics for our hospitals means that we receive great support. In the most part they will be from our retired population, in-line with national statistics our volunteers are predominantly white, retired and female.

In every way Ashok dispels the myth that, that’s who volunteers are, because we know they are more than just those statistics. Our volunteers are not just white, or retired or female, but they are in fact young students, men, women, various ethnicities and abilities. Ashok provides a very visual, polite and human conduit between our organisation and some of our hard to reach communities who may find accessing services difficult because of a language barrier. He shows very publicly that our volunteers are from all walks of life, differing religions, genders, abilities and sexual orientation and a great advocate.

However, Ashok is also one of the most humble men you will meet, being one of the first to want to return following Covid-19, he is reliable, flexible and willing. Alongside his wayfinding duties Ashok also chaperones the local primary school children who read one to one with our elderly patients.

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