The importance of our volunteers to a range of our services cannot be overestimated. Our volunteers unselfishly give up their personal time to work in one of our services.

Here, you can meet some of our volunteers who all provide integral work in ensuring that our services run smoothly…

Amir is a ward befriender volunteer at Finchley Memorial Hospital. He says, “Volunteering with CLCH has really opened my eyes to the demands placed on hospitals. Helping the staff, even with small tasks gives me great satisfaction. I know that I am offering support to make the team's day a little easier." Here he tells his story to a member of our team.

What does your day look like as a volunteer?

It’s very interesting, you’re constantly learning. From how to conduct yourself with patients and other healthcare professionals, to patient confidentiality and skillsets, I find that every time I volunteer, I'm gaining skills.

Sometimes, you also have to learn on the job and its very rewarding. I have also found that, the more you volunteer, the more you learn, as you build a stronger, trusting relationship with the patients and also with the team.

What challenges have you found while volunteering?

At the beginning, I was a little unsure of how to communicate with the patients and make them feel comfortable around me. I spoke with the nurses and they explained to me how I can practice this better; so by being aware of my speech for instance, as some patients are more hard of hearing than others.

I now adjust my tone and my delivery to suit each patients needs, something which CLCH value in their ethos. I think it all comes down to keeping the dignity of the patients.

Rhea is hoping to study Medicine in the future so joined our volunteering service in order to widen her knowledge and understanding of the NHS. Assisting as a meet and greet volunteer, it is hugely important that we make our patients feel welcome when using CLCH services. Here she tells her story to a member of our team.

How long have you been a volunteer?

I’ve been volunteering down in the Phlebotomy Clinic at Finchley Memorial since around February this year, so I actually haven’t been there very long at all, but I already feel so connected to that community.

What’s your favourite thing about your role?

I think it would be both the patients and the other healthcare staff there. With the patients, just being able to talk to them and knowing that you’ve made that day a little easier for them is really nice. Most of them are usually confident and they won’t need my help much, but sometimes if they’re a little older, or a bit unsure, you can tell they really appreciate your help, even if it’s just little things like getting a cup of water for them, or directing them to the washroom, or helping register their car details for them.

In terms of the other healthcare staff, they’re so overwhelmingly supportive and kind and just absolutely amazing, I felt like I fit in right away. Especially the wonderful lady who works the reception desk during my shift, she’s been just incredible and has guided me through this role and keeps me motivated and excited and we always have lovely conversations which I really look forward to.

Paul is a volunteer driver for Pembridge Hospice.

Volunteering with CLCH has allowed me to apply my driving skills towards an important cause. To serve creative materials to those who are in a perhaps lonely and isolated state really fills them with joy and helps drive them through their treatment.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer with us?

I have done a lot of volunteering in my past; I am a running coach and I volunteer at my club a few times a week, however, with the NHS, I wanted to volunteer somewhere substantial and where it was somewhat more rewarding.

I noticed that CLCH were looking for volunteers and I thought it would be a great chance to support the hospice. Being a palliative care unit, the idea of helping those in such a sensitive state is very important to me.

What volunteering work to you do at Pembridge Hospice?

So I deliver art and crafts kits, which I drop to the homes of our patients. I can have upwards of 25 deliveries each day, all within West and North West London. Due to Covid-19, face to face interactions were reduced, unfortunately, so these kits enable them to still feel part of a community.

Patients also send in their works, which we then share. It’s really important to keep this community feel amongst us, and I think we achieve this well. We want everybody to feel valued and appreciated, no matter their circumstances.

How is volunteering with Pembridge Hospice different?

As I mentioned, I have done a fair bit of volunteering in my past. But what is different here is the fact that I am working to support people who are really in need, and it has opened my eyes to realise how much of a difference I am making to their lives, and that is very rewarding, it keeps me going.

It drives me to be more efficient in delivering these packages to patients who cannot come into the Hospice. We know how much of a difference it makes to their daily lives.

alice.PNGWhy did you decide to volunteer with us?

I'm interested in studying medicine and always love lending a hand, so I thought it would be good to expose myself to a healthcare setting. This allowed me to put myself forward and learn how to properly interact with patients. I wanted to gain a lot more than you would from a week of work experience where I could feel like I had an impact even if it was only small. With this being said, I know CLCH to be a great organisation for volunteering, so I thought why not get involved at such a place?

What does your role as a volunteer consist of?

I start by preparing the menu and taking orders from the patients for their meals, all whilst chatting to them and maintaining conversation. This can take very little time or a lot depending on the patients that week. If I finish early, I talk to some of the patients and get to know them. Then by lunch I help serve the food. Sometimes I serve tea and coffee to the patients after lunch. I find it really helpful with patients by just being someone they can talk to and express their feelings towards, even if it is just to entertain them whilst they wait for their treatment.

How would you say becoming a volunteer has changed/affected you?

I believe I have grown greatly as a person. The role definitely helped me gain a lot more confidence, especially with my communication skills. I get to meet many different patients with different stories as they all come and go. From them I learn about different conditions and their struggles like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's disease and usually tend to look them up once I get home.

Have you faced any obstacles whilst being a volunteer with us? If so, how have you overcome these?

When I started volunteering, I was shy. It’s always difficult being in a new environment with new people. My main challenge was adapting to the needs of different people. Some patients can hear perfectly fine and speaking loudly to them can seem condescending, whereas others feel frustrated when they can't hear you.

Some patients are always enthusiastic to see me, whereas others are unhappy about being there and usually don’t want to do much talking. Distinguishing which type of patient they are just takes a bit of practice and getting used to. Ultimately, with their difficult situation, the priority is to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

For somebody who is looking to volunteer at CLCH, how would you encourage them to join and why?

I would say just go for it, you learn so much and it gives you experience all whilst making you feel helpful. Volunteering at CLCH is rewarding, it is very difficult for the patients who are in their rooms all day with limited visiting hours so being there for them is important and often leaves a smile on their face. If you are finding it hard as a volunteer, the staff are always extremely supportive and pleasant, and will go out of their way to make you feel as comfortable as possible and work through any obstacles that may be faced with having a new volunteer working.