Making life better for patients
Making life better for patients
Sheffield Hosptials Charity

Christine Prior, from Chapeltown, was inspired to volunteer as a ‘welcomer’ at the Northern General Hospital for the last five years, after slipping on ice and breaking her wrist, which resulted in her needing hospital care.

Christine says her role makes her feel motivated by the experience of helping other people- often at the most difficult time of their lives, and wants people to consider donating to the volunteer service which is funded by Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

She said: “In December 2008 I slipped on the ice on my way to work. I knew straight away I had broken my wrist so my husband drove me to A&E.

“I had always thought about doing voluntary work, but it was that day whilst I was waiting to see a consultant that I decided I would like to do voluntary work in the hospital once my full time work had finished.

“Three years later I applied to be a welcomer at Northern General Hospital, as I had many years of experience in reception work, which I have always enjoyed.  There is so much variety and I like not knowing what challenges are going to crop up. It’s an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life in different situations.

“Working as a welcomer is the same and more. I like helping people who come to the hospital. Last week, I took a couple to an outpatients department after they’d had a stressful journey and they were lost. They were doing a trial run on public transport for an appointment the next day – I showed them a quicker way from the bus stop, which relieved their stress.

“The same day a patient who had driven from Matlock was in a rush to find Radiology and gave me a hug and a kiss when I took her there. You never know what situation people are in or why they’re visiting.

“Volunteering is so rewarding – people are so thankful, but without charitable funding this service would not exist.”

Sheffield Hospitals Charity funds the roles of the Volunteer Services Team, four members of staff who are responsible for leading and developing volunteering across Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

There are currently more than 575 volunteers who have committed to support patients and visitors across all of the Sheffield Teaching Hospital sites.

Carrie Mckenzie, Voluntary Services Manager, said: “Every day our volunteers, like Christine, make a vital contribution to improving patient and visitor experience. They help to support busy NHS staff by interacting with patients and ensuring they are comfortable.  They also provide a personal and reassuring presence for patients, helping to limit loneliness, all of which helps to improve wellbeing and their experience in hospital.

“By donating to Sheffield Hospitals Charity you can help Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Volunteer Service to recruit, train and support more volunteers, helping us to offer a better service to patients, staff and visitors alike.”

To donate to the Volunteer Service, please email charity@shct.nhs.uk or call 0114 226 7351.