Bay Health and Care Partners celebrate fantastic volunteers
Written by John Williamson on 28/05/2021
As part of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) the Bay Health and Care Partners (BHCP) are celebrating volunteers from across Morecambe Bay by sharing their stories.
Cumbria CVS is a registered charity and membership organisation and supports the Third Sector and other organisations to recruit new volunteers. Cumbria CVS has over 30 volunteers helping with cancer, digital and administration support. Over the last year, the CVS has been supporting over 2,000 people to get into volunteering through the Support Cumbria website during COVID-19. Now with the lifting of lockdown and many volunteers returning to work after being furloughed, they are reaching to recruit new volunteers.
Flora Hill, 20, of Kendal, has been volunteering for Cumbria CVS in a digital role for around eight months. She said: “I’m a digital volunteer and I help out each week designing graphics for different events and charities. When I started at Cumbria CVS I’d never made any graphics before but everyone is so supportive and helpful and now it’s something I look forward to doing each week.”
Around 16 volunteers support Macmillan’s Information and Support Service at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Furness General Hospital and Westmorland General Hospital. The service is normally face-to-face but is currently available over the phone due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
David Hyde, 76, of Barrow-in-Furness, has been volunteering for Macmillan for two years. David who has had cancer said: “The best part for me is when someone calls in the hub in a distressed state and leaves smiling and gives me a hug. Visitors who have just received a cancer diagnosis and are upset and confused, call in to sit down, gather their thoughts and just want to talk to someone sympathetic with time to listen, before going home to break the news to their family. Helping people is the main reason for me doing the role.”
Northwest Blood Bikes is a charity with around 390 members who cover the South Lakes and Lancashire. Volunteers carry out a wide range of tasks including riding motorcycles to collect and deliver urgently needed whole blood, platelets and samples for analysis between NHS hospitals without charge.
Mark Thomson, 54, of Lancaster, has volunteered for Northwest Blood Bikes for two and half years. He covers urgent deliveries of blood to the NHS locally and nationally when needed and attends fundraising events to highlight the charity to the NHS and raise money to support.
Mark said: “As a keen motorcyclist I saw it as a great opportunity to combine my hobby whilst helping out the NHS. The best bit is the genuine thanks and appreciation you get from the hospital staff and the public, it is very satisfying when a total stranger waves or approaches us to thank us for the service we provide.”
CancerCare has around 120 volunteers across all its centres in Barrow, Kendal, Lancaster and Morecambe. They carry out a variety of duties and play a vital role in helping the charity support its clients. These include staffing reception desks, helping out at fundraising events and driving clients to and from appointments
Sally-Ann Mayne, 57, of Kendal has been volunteering for CancerCare for 10 years as a receptionist at the Lakes Centre in Kendal. Sally said: “I have had cancer three times and even though I didn’t use CancerCare’s service as I wasn’t living in the area at the time, my breast cancer nurse was amazingly kind and always there for me and that is what I wanted to be able to offer to CancerCare.”
Around 350 people volunteer across University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHMBT) hospital sites in such roles as welcoming visitors with general enquiries, gardening, assisting at meal times-distributing meals, making drinks and talking to patients and helping at fundraising events. Some of the Trust’s volunteers have been stood down due to the COVID restrictions.
Maureen Holmes, 75, of Kendal, has been volunteering at Westmorland General Hospital for the past seven years and currently volunteers for Oncology on the Grizedale Unit. Maureen helps the staff and patients in any way she can including making refreshments and taking bloods to pathology.
Maureen said: “The best part for me is working with such wonderful staff who really appreciate all the help I can give and being able to give something back to the service that has looked after my family. My mother died from breast cancer many years ago and my brother was diagnosed with cancer on his tonsils nearly four years ago. Through volunteering, I feel that I have become a better and happier person.”
Bay Trust Radio is run by 58 volunteers who have worked extremely hard to keep their service running during the pandemic and even launched new projects to help patients in hospital stay connected with loved ones.
John Williamson, President and Station Manager has volunteered for Bay Trust Radio for 29 years. John said: “Volunteers swapped radio studios for their own homes and kept normal programmes running safely throughout, providing entertainment alongside news and information every day.
“Tablets were provided to wards for patients who didn’t have their own devices for video calls, a project made possible by linking with local organisations as well as the Volunteer and IT teams at UHMBT. We’ve had wonderful feedback and the team are so happy to hear they are making a difference when visiting in person isn’t possible. A purpose-built Patients’ Portal was also set up for the tablets, giving patients free access to the radio service, news updates, wellbeing advice and hospital/COVID-19 information.
“The team has adapted well to the changes over the last year and it means there are now more opportunities for volunteers to conduct their roles remotely, a fantastic option for those who struggle to get to Kendal on a regular basis. Everyone at Bay Trust Radio would like to thank all their supporters for their help over this challenging year.”
Volunteers’ Week marks the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. As part of Volunteers’ Week, we are celebrating our volunteers from across our Bay Health and Care Partners by sharing their stories on the BHCP website and on Twitter @MorecambeBHCP.
Cumbria CVS is celebrating Volunteers’ Week by saying thank you to volunteers in Cumbria and hosting 15 Virtual Volunteer Information Sessions to recruit new volunteers into a wide range of volunteering opportunities. You can find out more at www.cumbriacvs.org.uk/news