Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who make such a huge difference to patients and staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Here SLaM’s Volunteer Services Manager Isobel Mdudu gives an update:
When the Covid-19 pandemic started in spring 2020, we set up a Telephone Befriending Service to provide support to people who use our services. This was initially going to be a temporary service while face-to-face meetings weren’t possible. However, even when lockdown restrictions were eased last summer many service users asked for the calls to continue as they found them so helpful. It has been so important to carry on making that connection with service users in any way possible and we now have had over 250 telephone befrienders supporting service users.
Plus, our befriending volunteers are meeting regularly with service users in parks for exercise. One service user told a volunteer that this meeting was his only social contact each week and he very much looked forward to it.
Penelope Doue, Southwark Peer Support Volunteer Coordinator, said: "The volunteers supporting their peers in the community are providing that extra bit of support to people who may be isolated and lack the confidence to leave their homes".
In September, Sinead Brown the new CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) Mentor Volunteer Coordinator started in her role. Sinead works with over 30 CAMHS mentors who support young people in the community. Our previous Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Rodway Swanson has started a post grad in Occupational Therapy (OT) after spending time with so many encouraging and supportive OTs at the Trust.
The Volunteer Service has been awarded funding to run a short project – Young Health Information Champions. The project is funded by NHS England and we hope to raise awareness of the issues facing CAMHS users during Covid-19.
Thank you to those who help train our volunteers, and have adapted the training so it can be delivered online. One of our trainers, Ray Parker said: "I find it interesting and enjoyable to help facilitate the volunteering training, and have enjoyed the challenges of training people online".
We were very proud that the Trust Chair Norman Lamb thanked our brilliant volunteers on the live broadcast to all staff and praised their efforts during the pandemic.
Find out about volunteering opportunities at SLaM.
Nabil is a volunteer at Croydon PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) at Bethlem Hospital. He has been volunteering twice a week at the PICU since September 2020.
“Volunteering in the PICU ward has helped me a great deal in preparing me for when I am able to return to work. The staff are very appreciative and the patients are also grateful to see me regularly. I have been fortunate enough to make good relationships during my time volunteering”
Mabel, Senior Occupational Therapist, said: "Nabil has excellent rapport with patients and staff alike and takes his volunteering very seriously. You will often find him helping patients with a range of tasks including making drinks, doing laundry, playing music for them (we are yet to convince him to dance!).
"He also helps the occupational therapist with various tasks such as making fruit smoothies and snacks with patients and he co-facilitates the smoking cessation session. On behalf of all the patients and staff we would like to say thank you to Nabil. We are delighted and fortunate to have Nabil volunteering on the ward".