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It takes a special kind of person like Anne to manage a successful team of volunteers

30th November 2020

Alderhey children hospital

Submitted by Julie Sellers, ALDERHEY Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Anne Doyle has been a volunteer manager since February 2016 and is a committed leader of the volunteer service, bringing together patient experience staff and volunteer colleagues to facilitate an excellent workforce. Anne always strives to go the extra mile to support staff and volunteers and support their personal aims.

During her time at Alder Hey she has developed the volunteer service in so many ways. From the initial information sessions to making sure that the volunteers are accurately assessed and given a placement opportunity in an area where they will thrive and develop. Anne strives to ensure we meet their individual needs and support their development; many of which enter health service careers. It always brings a sense of achievement seeing another young person joining the service. Volunteers of all ages bring individual experience and she recognises the value of a mature volunteers' life and career experience.

The work aspect is a key factor, but as in any team it's more productive if team members bond and enjoy working together. This is one of the factors Anne recognised and introduced several social aspects:

  • Film nights/singing nights in a small lecture theatre with a large screen was a very popular activity.
  • Book Club to discuss and share favoured reads
  • Facebook for volunteers/news sheet. This is a particularly important aspect currently to keep volunteers informed and updated.
  • Volunteer ‘Thanks event’. Usually a joyous occasion with food, refreshments, entertainment and awards. However, this year of course, meant the event couldn’t take place in person. Not to be deterred Anne organised a Zoom event with entertainment of a singer with many volunteers joining us from home delighted to link up with friends.

Anne is well respected with a warm vibrant personality, full of humour, balanced with a sense of fairness and professionalism. She is an effective communicator both in professional meetings or informal chats with volunteers who find it easy to approach her with ideas or problems.

Anne tells us about her motivation:

“I was tired of the pressure in retail to sell but still wanted a career with people in healthcare. I knew the NHS was the place for me and I was particularly drawn to Alder Hey. Like many people in the city I had a personal connection - they cared for my sister all her childhood and saved my nephew's life aged two when he had meningitis. Volunteering has become my passion. I've witnessed how it can bridge a gap between families and clinical staff, how it offers the gift of time and allows clinical staff to deliver the care they've been trained to do.

“Some come to us with little confidence or self-belief and watching them grow is amazing. We have volunteers of all ages, volunteers with learning disabilities and volunteers who have been patients themselves and want to give back. All volunteers if asked say they get more than they give from volunteering at Alder Hey. Currently our challenge is to remodel and rebuild during Covid and that includes a new online recruitment process/training. Our volunteers have been outstanding during the pandemic and I am beyond proud of what we have been able to achieve.”

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