Dewsbury and District Hospital is desperately searching for volunteers to serve-up some tea and empathy at its two cafés.
Patients, visitors and medics have described the outlets – which have raised money to help pay for wheelchairs, beds and pressure monitors in the recent past – as a “quiet haven”. They’ve also enjoyed chatting to the specially trained staff and have praised them for their humanity and helpfulness.
But unless more volunteers can be recruited, the cafés which are staged in the Bronte Tower and Ridings Building, will struggle to stay open - especially at weekends.
“As with the doctors, nurses and medical staff, our volunteers perform a vital service that is not restricted to just weekdays and daylight hours” said Vikki Padgett, Voluntary Services Manager at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Dewsbury Hospital. “We want to be there for our visitors, patients and staff when they need us and that takes commitment – but what you put into volunteering, you get back in spades.”
For current volunteers including Barbara Pickles, volunteering at the café has allowed them to put something back into their community, make new friends and build-up their self-confidence. The 65 year-old was encouraged to volunteer by her son shortly after she was widowed two years ago. “Looking after others takes your mind off things” says Barbara who also works as a dinner lady at The Hollybank School, “you get a sense of satisfaction when you hear people say, “You do a grand job!””
Mirfield based former health care assistant Diane Willis also believes that volunteering gives her a sense of purpose and fulfilment. The 62-year-old said: “When I worked in the outpatients department in Dewsbury, I knew how much volunteers mattered and what a contribution I could make.”
Applying to become a volunteer at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is easy and accredited training and a warm welcome is guaranteed. Amongst the roles volunteers play are hospital guiding, chaplaincy and even contributing to hospital radio. All that is asked is that you are committed – and friendly.
Barbara Pickles concluded: “Sometimes people come into the hospital feeling really low and perhaps lonely, too. But a drink and a kind word helps - and a smile from a volunteer can make all the difference.”
Become a volunteer at Dewsbury by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01924 543451.