Meet our volunteers
Welcome Volunteer at Charing Cross Hospital
Charing Cross is one of London’s busiest hospitals, Brian and Joan are two of the volunteers who are on hand at the main entrance to provide visitors with a warm welcome and a friendly face to help guide them. We spoke to Joan who happily shared some of her experiences and more amusing moments as a Welcome Volunteer…
“It is a very busy volunteer position as visitors arrive in waves coinciding with the arrival of the latest bus. Whilst it can be manic we make it happen by working as a team in conjunction with the reception staff, it is a continuous learning curve.
“I recently directed a visitor to the escalator to the first floor and to turn left at the top to walk towards the imaging department. The lady immediately turned left on the ground floor into the men's toilet!
"Whilst Brian and I find volunteering as welcomers at Charing Cross challenging we thoroughly enjoy it and frequently see the funnier side of life too.”
Ward volunteer at Charing Cross Hospital
Adrian has been volunteering at Charing Cross Hospital for the past seven years as a ward volunteer, not for one ward but for two. We caught up with Adrian to find out more about his volunteering…
"As a volunteer I do two shifts on a Thursday. My first shift on 8 West involves helping the Hostess to deliver the meals to patients. We have a system there of blue trays and red trays. Blue trays mean the patients are able to feed themselves and the red ones, patients need help with their food. When the service is finished we go around with the tea and coffee trolley and generally have a good tidy up of patients’ tables and any rubbish accumulated on them.
"My second shift later in the afternoon is on Lady Skinner Ward. We have lots of elderly patients there who have had accidents or some other illness. I try and engage them in conversations, perhaps play games or use things like colouring books or photographs of famous people from film stars of the past, places and sights in London which they can identify with. This works particularly well if they are reluctant to talk. I thoroughly enjoy my volunteering and can see how much it helps the patients."
Volunteer at Charing Cross Hospital, A&E
Aneliese started volunteering in January 2016 at Charing Cross Hospital's A&E after moving to Shepherds Bush with her son. She'd already been volunteering at Kings College Hospital for a year as that was close to where she lived.
Now aged 29, the qualified level two healthcare assistant was keen to volunteer whilst her son grows up. She says: "I wanted to keep my foot in the door and volunteering at the hospital seemed like a good place for that. I think it's really useful and I'm learning a lot."
"My hours can vary but generally Monday to Wednesday, from 8.30 to 3.30pm, though I've also done a few night shifts in A&E which can be quite interesting.
"The things I do include making beds, making patients cups of tea, running errands for the A&E team, taking patients' temperature and talking to patients. Sometimes these small things make a real difference. I can talk and really enjoy this, I enjoy making people happy.
"I was a patient two years ago at the hospital and was hooked up to a machine and there wasn't anyone to look after my son who was with me at the time. Thankfully two volunteers popped up and looked after him for that time and I realised then how important those kinds of roles are.
"I'm an active person and didn't want to be sitting around, especially having qualified to be a healthcare assistant in 2014. I love interacting with people and really feel like I'm a part of the team when I volunteer at A&E. Staff in the department know my name, it's like a little family here.
"Every time I come in there's so much that needs to be done and I really feel like I make a difference. If I can do some things that mean the clinicians have the time to do what they need to do, then that frees up time. Volunteering can be challenging at times, I recently had to clean a bed which had been used by a patient who sadly passed away, but that's hospital life isn't it? These things happen.
"In terms of volunteering, I'm looking to carry on volunteering as much as I can until my son turns five, so that's in about another year or so.
"I've always been into caring for others and the fact that I know the volunteering is benefitting me at the same time is good."
Charity arts team volunteer
Stephen has been volunteering with the charity's arts team since early 2012, and has done a multitude of things for the team, from helping to establish where artworks were, to helping with the database and cataloguing. He held monthly art tours because of his knowledge of the collection across all sites and continues to be a huge asset to the team. Stephen won a Long Service Award and subsequently a Make a Difference Award in July 2016 in recognition for his contribtion.
"I started simply by approaching the volunteer services at Charing Cross who asked if I would be interested in joining the hospital radio, which I did for seven years until 2010 or so, when that stopped I volunteered with patient satisfaction surveys until a chance encounter with someone from the charity who I'd met previously who told me about the arts team," he said.
Charing Cross, Clinic 8
"I volunteer at Clinic 8, which is the oncology unit at Charing Cross Hospital's outpatients department. I basically welcome people when they come in and make teas, coffees and any other refreshments they'd like. I do anything else staff ask me to that is non-clinical, but just helps anyone."
"I've been volunteering at Charing Cross for eight years. I started over on 8 West, then I moved to 6 East. I've had a break for a while and now I'm back on Clinic 8, which is great! I love it.
"I really enjoy meeting people, I enjoy trying to give a little bit back to the community whenever I can. Talking to the patients, ladies and gentlemen who come to Clinic 8 is just amazingly humbling and keeps me grounded. Basically it's a very very rewarding role to do."
"I'd say to people considering volunteering at the hospitals go for it, very definitely go for it. Have a chat with Sarah (Lennon) or Cecille (Phillips) to see what there is available and see how you think you would fit into the areas of the hospital that you would particularly like to work with. For me, this is just brilliant."
Charity arts team volunteer
MA Paper Conservation
“The charity was very welcoming, work events were great fun and as charity staff we could get into a variety of exhibitions around London. I found my time at the charity really valuable: I was given training, it broadened my skill set and the tasks were really engaging. The skills I learned are directly transferable, such as, organisation skills and experience using collection management systems.”
Since leaving the charity, Madeleine has gone on to work in paper conservation at Tunbridge Wells Museum.
Charity arts team volunteer
BA Art History and Heritage Management
“Working at the charity gave me my first hands on experience within a collection. I really enjoyed how much time I was able to spend viewing, cataloguing and handling the artworks within the hospitals. Also as a result of canvas conservation training I received at the charity, I was given the opportunity to do a conservation project at the Ashmolean Museum.”
After doing a placement at the charity, Gemma was offered a full time position working in the Ashmolean Museum.
"I loved how included I was, I really felt part of the fundraising team. My favourate aspects of working in the community fundraising team was the constant learning and observing first hand how the charity's work actually impacts the community."
Since finishing her placement at the charity, Kinley has decided to travel in Europe before going back to the USA.
MSc Population Health
“This internship has given me the skills and experience I needed to progress in the field of communications. I was given the opportunity to write for different audiences, create content for social media and work with Google analytics. However, what made this internship really special was how welcoming and supportive everyone at the charity was to me.”
Emma is now working for Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity as their digital marketing intern.
Find out about our current volunteering opportunities here