Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has welcomed back its first volunteer since the pandemic.
The Trust’s Voluntary Services were required to put their volunteers on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic and are now pleased to be starting the process of welcoming them back gradually into volunteer roles that support staff colleagues.
The first volunteer back was John Osborne who has been volunteering with the Trust since 2009. John helps in the shop at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth every Monday.
“I found it really hard not being able to come in,” John said. “I was delighted to be able to come back.”
John has now been back around two months and says it feels like he’s never been away.
He said he was eager to return as he enjoys interacting with the different people in the shop, both staff and patients. He does a number of tasks including working on the till and doing stock takes.
“I wanted to become a volunteer because I wanted to do something different,” John said. “I really enjoy coming into the shop.”
Rebecca Goodburn, Voluntary Services Coordinator at the Trust, said: “Before the pandemic, John had never missed a volunteering shift which is testament to his hard work and dedication.
“The last few years have been difficult for everyone but we’re so pleased to see the return of our volunteers who make such a valuable contribution to the Trust in many ways.”
CNTW, a leading provider of mental health and disability services, has over 100 volunteers across its sites. The Trust’s volunteers offer social and therapeutic support to service users, as well as supporting staff in services such as the chaplaincy, corporate teams and art services. They also provide practical assistance at the hospital shop or as part of gardening and woodwork projects.
Volunteering offers many rewarding opportunities, allowing people to develop new skills, share and utilise their current skills whilst meeting new people.
Volunteers make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of everyone, giving their time, skills and energy freely, supporting our patients, carers and staff colleagues, offering hope and making a difference.