Volunteers praised for help

Volunteers Valerie Flaherty, Jess Dowd and Mags Kelly with Voluntary Services Officer Catherine Henshaw
Volunteers Valerie Flaherty, Jess Dowd and Mags Kelly with Voluntary Services Officer Catherine Henshaw

Hundreds of Fylde coast volunteers working across the NHS have been praised for helping the organisation.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has more than 400 volunteers covering a wide range of roles and interim chief executive, Wendy Swift, paid tribute to them as the Trust celebrated National Volunteers Week.

We are building a new shop which will raise money for our Blue Skies Hospitals Fund charity

She said: “Our volunteers are an essential part of the trust and help maintain vital links between services and the people of the Fylde coast.

“We are fortunate to have the support of a large and committed number of volunteers who do outstanding work to support the trust and whose connection with their community gives a greater understanding of the people we serve.”

The trust has volunteers covering a host of areas including their successful ‘navigators,’ who direct patients and visitors around the Blackpool Victoria and Clifton Hospital sites.

Other roles include health mentors, hospital radio presenters, patient panel members and general ward helpers.

The trust, which is constantly recruiting new volunteers, said it is always looking to recruit new volunteers and is currently looking for more navigators and people to work in a shop that is being built in the new outpatients area at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Jane Iceton, Volunteers Co-ordinator at the Trust, said: “We are building a new shop which will raise money for our Blue Skies Hospitals Fund charity.

“We need people who will be able to work in the shop on a regular basis and would love to hear from as many people as possible who feel they could offer a few hours a week.’’

One volunteer is Valerie Flaherty, who worked in the NHS for more than 40 years before retiring recently.

She said: “I loved working in the NHS and after I retired I felt there was something missing so I offered to volunteer and I absolutely love it.

“It is nice to give something back but it also gives me something as well.’’

National Volunteers Week highlights the fantastic contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.

For information on how you can become a volunteer call 01253 957994 or email volunteers@bfwhospitals.nhs.uk. All volunteers must be 18 or over, or 25 for some roles.