As soon as I heard schools were closing for the foreseeable future and I wasn’t going to be working I knew a plan of action was needed. The first thing I did was contact Watford General Hospital; I’d been through the beginning of the volunteer application process but had yet to do the online training. This situation presented the perfect opportunity!
After the training I enthusiastically signed up to 3 shifts, delighted as this was going to keep me busy! Nonetheless, there was a small niggle at the back of my mind – was I putting my family at risk? It was a reality that I wanted to approach sensibly and I talked about the process with my family. My husband is a serving police officer and my youngest daughter works in a local cafe, they’d both been coming into regular contact with the public recently. I made a plan to get changed from the volunteering clothes I wore at the hospital in the garage and to put them straight into the washing machine, then to take a shower. As a volunteer, I wasn’t coming into direct contact with any of the patients with COVID-19, so I felt happy with my plan of action.
I’ve been volunteering for several weeks now and it’s been fantastic. I’ve met some really interesting people, many of them fellow volunteers, wanting to help out in any they could in these unprecedented times. Carrying out tasks such as talking to relatives on the phones or taking property up to patients when visitors were no longer allowed into the hospital meant that I was finding my way around pretty quickly, and racking up a lot of steps.
I’ve found that the most rewarding task is delivering sandwiches, water, chocolate – any little treats that had been donated by the amazing public – to staff. The generosity is impressive and staff are clearly very grateful.