King’s Mill Hospital has thousands of doctors, nurses and consultants working tirelessly to offer the best possible service to patients.
But did you know that the hospital also has more than 350 volunteers who make a huge difference to the lives of patients, its staff and visitors?
Whether they are supporting cancer patients, expectant mums, staff at the emergency department or brewing up a much-needed cup of tea for visitors, volunteers are very much part of the fabric of hospital life.
People offer their services freely for different reasons.
For some it is a way of gaining skills and experience for a future career in the NHS, for others a fulfilling way of giving back to the hospital and patients.
Husband and wife Malcolm and Marjorie Coupe, who are both 65 and from Sutton, say volunteering at the hospital has transformed their social life after retirement.
Marjorie, a mum of three and proud gran, has volunteered for nine years at the hospital.
She works on a Wednesday and Friday giving service with a smile, serving snacks and drinks in the Daffodil Café at the King’s Treatment Centre.
Malcolm has volunteered for seven years and works Thursdays and Fridays, serving sweets and drinks on the ward trolley and driving the buggy for patients with mobility problems.
Marjorie said: “I always fancied volunteering. When you have worked all your life you still want to be with and around people. I find it very refreshing getting to meet and mix with new people.
“We are extremely busy - we serve hundreds of people every day. Most days we don’t have a minute serving tea and toast and washing pots.”
Malcolm, who retired after taking redundancy from his job as an engineer, said: “I started getting into it through Marjorie and ever since then I’ve never looked back.
“Volunteering gives you more interests, it gives you something else to do in life and something to talk about.
“My wife and I don’t work the same shifts, so it allows each of us some time to ourselves.
“The volunteers get on well with the staff - I think they buy more food off the trolley than the patients do!
“We also have a laugh with the patients and I think it breaks the day up for them. I come on Thursday and work from half past one and finish at 4pm.
“On the trolley service do six wards apiece, serving people with chocolates and drinks.”
He added: “I can’t see either of us stopping now we are volunteers, we really enjoy it.”
Last year Malcolm suffered a heart attack and after his treatment he had no qualms about resuming his voluntary duties. He explained: “After I came back, the hospital told me what I could do, what I couldn’t do and what they wouldn’t let me do. They were very supportive and gave plenty of advice.”
So what do they think is the value of volunteering to the hospital? Malcolm said: “I think we enhance the public side of things. Without volunteers the hospitals would run to a certain standard but there would be a lot of things missing.
Marjorie added: ”Financially they put a lot of money into buy equipment using the profits we make and that really makes a difference.
“ I would recommend volunteering to anybody with the time. If people want to get involved they can get in touch with the office or come and see any of us and we can lead them in the right direction.”
l Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at King’s Mill should contact the Voluntary Services Department on 01623 676011 for a chat.