Today (June 1) we mark the start of Volunteers’ Week 2021 – a chance to say a huge thank you to all those who have supported Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Oxford Health Charity this year.
Julie Pink, Head of Charity and Community Involvement, said:
“Volunteers bring a wealth of skills, experience and energy to the roles they undertake and our teams are so grateful for all the time they give.
“It has been very different over the last year and we know that many of our volunteers have been unable to return to their normal roles yet but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been contributing in other ways. We look forward to welcoming them back as restrictions ease. Thank you for all you do.”
On that note, Julie added:
“We’re kickstarting our project to bring volunteers back into their roles by meeting with supervisors today, June 1, to discuss how, when and where volunteers are needed. In addition to our internal celebrations, we will be taking part in national volunteering development sessions being run by NHS England and NHS Improvement.”
While Volunteers’ Week might usually see coffee mornings and hosted events, this year we are marking it with a set of virtual activities. On Monday, June 7, Oxford Health volunteers are invited to take part in a wellbeing day which has been funded through the Oxford Health Charity.
Throughout the week we’ll be also posting messages on the Trust and Charity social media so keep an eye open on Facebook and Twitter.
Volunteering in the pandemic
Oxford Health has 200+ volunteers who in normal times support our teams and patients on wards, help with admin, tend and maintain our gardens, and take up many other roles. During the Covid pandemic access to Trust sites has been restricted and many volunteers have not been able to engage in their normal roles. But led by Oxford Health Charity, they have found new and innovative ways to support our patients, carers and teams. Here’s a snapshot of three such initiatives,
Volunteers helped distribute over 22,000 individual PPE packs
One team of volunteers worked right at the heart of responding to the pandemic by providing vital help in distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to nursing teams. The team sorted PPE from big deliveries into individual packs of ten of everything: masks, gloves and aprons. Nurses could grab a pack at a time that was convenient for them.
Working in socially distanced groups, the team produced over 1,400 packs a day, freeing staff to focus on their duties. Their dedication led to the distribution of 22,412 individual PPE packs. This outstanding achievement was featured in the Helpforce Wall of Fame.
All 2,000 members of staff in Oxford Health’s Community Services Directorate received a gift of sunflower seeds and a letter of recognition in April 2021, all delivered to them at home. The idea for ‘Operation Sunflower’ came from Lucia Winrow, Deputy Director of Neighbourhood Teams, who co-ordinated the initiative, and was made possible with support from Oxford Health Charity, whose volunteers packed and sent the gifts. Among them were Lilly Sabir and her children Ibrahim,9, (from left), Hanaa-Sophiya, 11 and Jeevan-Ali, 10. See the full story here.
Carers’ befriending phone line
In June last year Oxford Health established a befriending phone line for carers to alleviate loneliness and isolation. Funded through Oxford Health Charity as part of the NHS Charities Together grant, the phone line was partly set up to ‘redeploy’ volunteers who could not do their normal roles because of social distancing and the no-visitor policy on the trust sites.
Volunteer Becca Cheetham was one the Carers’ phone line responders. From her first call she knew that the service was very much appreciated: “The carer I spoke with was happy to just have someone to talk to.” See Becca’s story here.
Want to get involved?
Volunteers are an integral part of NHS services and at this time, we are working to bring our existing volunteers back into their roles as pandemic restrictions ease.
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Published: 1 June 2021