I joined West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s volunteers service in April 2020 to assist the hospitals in their response to the pandemic. On my first shift, I was apprehensive as I wasn’t sure what to expect but I soon got into the swing of things, mainly doing tea and coffee rounds and helping deliver patient belongings up to wards.
Volunteering at the hospital has greatly improved my confidence and communication skills and I have absolutely adored my time at Watford so far.
I got involved with teenage and young people’s volunteering (TYP) as I was keen to support young patients who can often feel isolated as they are often not with people their own age.
During my volunteering sessions, I found that being eager and enthusiastic really helped keep the conversation fun for both me and the patient. In all honesty, I wasn’t actually expecting to enjoy the sessions a huge amount as I thought I would struggle to talk to strangers, especially having spent so long with limited social contact in lockdown.
However, I absolutely loved the time I spent with patients – and when I got in the car after my first shift I kept telling my dad how much I’d enjoyed volunteering that day and how I wish I could go back sooner!
Befriending has been extremely valuable for me personally, enabling me to develop communication skills and to re-affirm my confidence when meeting new people. For the patients, even these short bursts of time spent with someone their own age, provide a sense of familiarity in what can be a scary and uncertain situation.
I can’t wait to be back at Watford soon and I’m really looking forward to doing some more TYP peer support – it’s definitely my favourite voluntary role now!