Helpforce Champions 2023 Winner - The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
9th October 2023
WINNER for Celebrating Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in Volunteering (ED&I Award) 2023
Volunteer Services Team at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
The Volunteer Services Team at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust have always been proud of the ethnical and religious diversity of their volunteer workforce, who represent the communities they serve in Wolverhampton and surrounding areas.
A previous report highlighted that their volunteer workforce had greater diversity than the staff demographic, showcasing that the volunteers are ethnically diverse, and representative of local communities and disadvantaged areas.
Over the past year, they have strived towards a volunteer programme that is even more accessible and even more inclusive of volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. Recruiting volunteers from a care background, refugee status, living with Autism and other learning disabilities. One volunteer has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic.
One of their many stories:
Thomas Walsh and his mother Michelle recently joined the Volunteer Services team. Thomas lives with Autism and learning disabilities and was eager to start volunteering to develop his skills, increase his social networks and to gain independence.
Thomas and Michelle met with the Volunteering team to find suitable roles at RWT to fit Thomas’s level of need.
Ashleigh Key, Volunteer Coordinator, says “it was important to our team that we worked with Thomas and Michelle to try and find a volunteer role that was both suitable for Thomas and his level of need, by providing mental and physical stimulation, but also a role that nurtured his personal development, independence and provided routine and structure”.
During Autism Awareness Week 2023, the volunteering team with Thomas and Michelle met with Maria Glover, ward manager for B2 Cardiac Rehabilitation at New Cross Hospital. With the understanding that this department was not as overly stimulating as a busy clinical ward, and previously had volunteers actively assisting with administrative support, the volunteering team thought that this role would be ideal for Thomas.
Ward Manager Maria Glover told us “It is important to promote equal opportunities in my department, as well as Trust wide. Equal opportunities for volunteers in the organisation can help to remove barriers that some people may face and creates opportunities for learning, and self-development, in a welcoming and inclusive environment”.
Thomas started his volunteer role on ward B2, Cardiac Rehabilitation, on Friday 14th April, with the support of his mother Michelle. It is Thomas’s goal, in the future, to volunteer independently, whilst Michelle continues her own volunteering work for the trust. In the meantime, Michelle has expressed how pleased she is to see Thomas enjoying his new role.
“Our first day went absolutely fabulous and far better than we could have ever imagined. Thomas was amazing and coped so well. I found it quite emotional at times watching him thrive in such a welcoming and happy environment. The team are just the best! We need more volunteers on board like Thomas, they would gain so much from the Trust. We cannot thank the Volunteering Team, and everyone else involved, enough for sorting this volunteer placement for Thomas. I know in my heart he'll do so well in B2!” – Michelle Walsh.
Update from Michelle Walsh in May 2023
The volunteer services team are so pleased that they have been able to identify a suitable role for Thomas, one that not only reduces stress and anxiety, but also provides him with meaningful and fulfilling tasks that helps relieve staff pressures! They look forward to seeing Thomas’s journey flourish with volunteering!