by Dominic Cookson
I have been the volunteer coordinator at Mildmay Hospital for coming up to three years now. I am so impressed by the great work our volunteers do and as part of Volunteers Week I would like to thank all our volunteers for their commitment to helping our small hospital make a big impact on the lives of our patients.
There are so many wonderful volunteers here at the hospital, helping with many different activities including yoga, music, gardening, bingo, fundraising and chaplaincy. Most volunteers are here for around three hours a week, and the additional care provided by them greatly helps our patients rehabilitation. Volunteers can keep patients active, for example the simple act of playing a game of scrabble will help with thought processing, speech, memory and hand to eye coordination. Keeping people engaged also helps prevent isolation and loneliness which is really good for our patients’ mental health too.
This week I caught up with our Volunteer Emily, who each week takes our Day Therapy patients to St Mary’s Secret Garden a local community garden where Mildmay’s horticultural therapy takes place. Emily explained that “going to the garden gives the patients a feeling of independence and helps with their ability to make decisions. The freedom of being outside in nature definitely affects their mood positively.”Emily gives her time each week, and feels that she gains a great deal herself from doing this. “Helping out gives me a feeling I am doing something with my life. Spending time with people who see things differently gives me a new outlook on life and I feel humble and honoured when the clients tell me of their struggles”.
Emily’s story shows how volunteering is about giving, but also gaining. Just giving a little time a week can have a big impact not only the lives of our clients, but also on the lives of our volunteers. As one of our chaplaincy volunteers Barry recently put it “you get even more than you give.”
If you want to find out more about volunteering at Mildmay you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Volunteering week and a huge thanks to all the volunteers out there!