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Incredible achievements belongs to the Volunteering team at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

29th November 2020

Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust

Submitted by Kate Ballinger, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

I believe the Volunteer team at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust should be on the Wall of Fame for bringing people together. They have gone above and beyond to ensure our staff and volunteers receive the best possible experience of volunteering in our hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, all volunteering at the Trust (1,000+ volunteers, including Friends of Princess Royal Hospital and The Friends of Royal Shrewsbury Hospital volunteers) was paused. Following the Prime Minister’s appeal, hundreds of people contacted the Trust to volunteer and the Volunteer team had to quickly establish new ways of working to perform recruitment checks, hold interviews and provide training - all without any face-to-face contact!

The team also had to identify areas where volunteers could help the Trust safely, ensuring that roles were suitable and appropriate risk assessments were carried out.

Some headlines:

• Since April 2020, the Volunteer Team has recruited 168 new volunteers to the Trust (110 applied in April alone!)

• The team have completed recruitment checks for all active volunteers comprising: DBS, two references and an occupational health report.

• All volunteers have attended an interview on Microsoft Teams, and completed online training.

• 26 new roles have been created to make best use of volunteer time and experience during the pandemic, covering departments as diverse as Therapy services and SaTH Charity

• For most people, the first person someone coming into our hospitals will see is a volunteer!

Before March this year, the Volunteer team was responsible for recruitment and placing of volunteers to existing roles, the day-to-day management of the volunteer would then pass to their local manager. During the pandemic, the team have continued to be the first point of call for all volunteers and have successfully recruited replacements as volunteers returned to their employment following periods of furlough.

An example of how the volunteers have brought the staff together is their support for SaTH Charity. At the start of the pandemic, many donations were received by both our hospitals from the public and local/national business. These were distributed through our wellbeing hubs and by the catering teams on both hospital sites. It became apparent that some clinical staff were unable to leave their areas of work to take advantage of the donations, so a small team of volunteers worked with the Charity from May to August and took donations around the hospitals to ensure that everyone had fair access to them.

The Volunteer team comprises 1.6 WTE posts. They have really stepped up during 2020 to make sure that our Trust continues to benefit from our volunteers, and to stay in touch with our paused volunteers to make sure they know that they have not been forgotten. I think they would make very worthy winners of this award.

Since June 2020 the Volunteer team have:

  • Produced a thank you video and greeting cards for Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), which was well received by volunteers and staff. leading to an increase in requests for volunteer support.

  • Responded to and coordinated a request for volunteers to man hospital entrances and distribute face masks in line with the change to national guidance on PPE.

  • Three of our volunteers successfully applied for substantive paid roles within the Trust

  • The Volunteer Team have developed an online Dementia Friends Awareness course

  • Volunteer matched to a new role in Therapies.

  • 10 of our volunteers successfully applied for bank roles within Phlebotomy team

  • The Volunteer Team have organised a programme of health lectures, to begin in October with ‘Dementia in acute care through COVID’

  • Volunteers matched to new roles in Phlebotomy and virtual visiting

  • Volunteer Team have offered support to Flu Campaign, if required

Volunteer Exit Survey:

  • 86% of volunteers felt their placement was a positive experience.

  • 90% of volunteers felt supported by the volunteer department during their placement.

There are countless examples of how our volunteers make a difference every day to the experience of our staff and patients and we are delighted to host celebration tea-parties during Volunteers week each year. Because of the pandemic, this year the team collected video snippets from around the Trust posted a thank you video on Facebook here:

They sent each volunteer a card to thank them personally and make sure that all our volunteers, whether currently active or paused, know how much we appreciate them.

In summary, I would like to share a quote from one of our volunteers:

“Thanks for your support in getting me a placement, and for all of your attention to the safety of your volunteers. I really felt welcomed by the team - and will strongly recommend anyone taking up the opportunity should they be available. I only wish I'd found out about the opportunity sooner, rather than waiting on the government volunteer site to re-open.”

Enjoy reading this story? Why not read all Wall of Fame stories here.