The Friends of St Cross have over 200 volunteers who are the unsung heroes of the charity and whose personal contact with patients is one of the things that makes a real difference to the patient experience at the Hospital of St Cross.
Mike Rigby, Vice President of the Charity and Volunteer co-ordinator, explains “Our volunteers offer a wide range of services to patients and visitors. The most recognised activities are at the Tea Bar and Help Desk in Out Patients. As well as operating another Help Desk at the Day Surgery Entrance we also provide services on the wards and even in theatres.
“We have recently started a Patient Feeding service which helps patients who are having difficulty at meal times – often it is just the companionship which our volunteers offer which encourages patients to regain their appetite.”
“Volunteers have also become Dementia Friends, working with the Frail and Older People’s team, sometimes taking patients to the Bluebell Lounge which the Friends helped furnish last year.”
“Of course many of our volunteers are also fund raisers and many help with collections at supermarkets and in our annual house to house collection which takes place in April and we are particularly keen to hear from anyone who could spare us a few hours this year to boost the appeal by collecting in their street. Over the years this has been an excellent way of engaging the community and we are sure that the popularity of our Diamond Jubilee Appeal will mean that our volunteers will receive a warm reception when they call.”
Mike is one of over 30 volunteers who have completed over 15 years of service and are still active in various roles. When asked about his involvement Mike said “I came to Rugby in 1984 when I was transferred to be the Administration Manager at the Nat West in North St. The League of Friends, as it was then, was and still is a customer of the bank and I was encouraged to find out more about the work they do. I was rapidly appointed as the Treasurer and when I retired I was asked to be the Chairman for 6 years! I have always enjoyed my involvement because the Charity does work which I believe in and it is a real pleasure to work with the volunteers, staff and managers at the hospital who are lovely people and always make you feel so welcome.”
He added that “Lots of volunteers help with a number of services and we are regularly being asked to consider other ways in which we can help the hospital which is at the core of our community and in recent years has been steadily increasing the number of patients it serves and the range of activities it undertakes. So we are always keen to recruit more volunteers – though cannot guarantee that we have gaps in specific services at any particular point in time!”