Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW)’s Voluntary Services team hosted its first ever virtual Christmas event for volunteers.
Held on 16 December, the event took place instead of the service’s annual Christmas party which aims to thank volunteers for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.
The event included singing Christmas songs, quizzes, picture Bingo and a prize draw. Each attendee was sent an activity pack beforehand with song sheets, quiz materials and a book of positivity, encouraging people to reflect.
CNTW’s Group Director David Muir joined the volunteers and said: “This has been an unusual, challenging and difficult year. We have adapted to new ways of working and it’s important to keep annual traditions like this alive. Volunteers are such a valuable resource to the Trust who give their time to help make the lives of our service users better.”
David thanked volunteers for their perseverance in a year where they might not have had the volunteering opportunities they had hoped.
The Trust has over 100 registered volunteers across its sites, many of whom have been placed on hold during the pandemic. The voluntary services team have been maintaining contact with all volunteers, ensuring they feel supported during these uncertain and challenging times.
Wendy Spratt, Voluntary Services Manager at CNTW, said: “It might not have been our usual celebrations but we certainly had fun. Everyone attending played a huge part to make it the success it was and as a team, we thank them all. Special thanks to David, Group Director, Stewart, Hospital Chaplain and Bridget from our lovely Comms team for her support throughout the event. One last special mention to Becca and Joanne for their loyal, hardworking attitude, support and resilience shown in everything they do especially during these challenging times.
“Our volunteers freely donate their time, enthusiasm and varied skills in supporting our healthcare teams, to help improve the experience of our patients and carers, and we have this party every year to show our appreciation.
“We strive to make the Trust a place where people are positive about volunteering and the impact volunteers can have.”
Feedback from volunteers included; ‘How good was that! You all did so well to organise it’, ‘The packs were brilliant’, ‘I really enjoyed seeing everybody’, another saying ‘Just a quick message to say I really enjoyed the party, it was a right laugh, as well as nice to see everyone. Another volunteer who attended said: “This has been lovely, I’ve found it really helpful.”
The volunteers offer social and therapeutic support to service users across four localities. They also support staff in other services such as the library or chaplaincy, and provide assistance in activities such as the hospital shop, gardening, woodwork projects as well as assisting patients and carers in the Points of You process.
CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.