The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers
Volunteer of the year
Individual or Team Nomination?
In these challenging times, nominators were asked to show how the nominee had demonstrated the following qualities:
- Exceptional work ethic - going above and beyond their job description, especially in the past 12 months.
- Outstanding achievement/s in work or outside of the organisation where relevant.
- Drive for innovation and proactive leadership in these challenging times.
- High level of interpersonal skills, such as kindness, empathy, loyalty and thoughtfulness to staff and patients.
- A resilience considering Covid to their role and to the health and wellbeing of their colleagues.
Nominee's story :
A team of nine Colleague Telephone Befriender volunteers were recruited from May 2020, as the Locala Volunteering Team recognised the need for patients to receive telephone befriending calls, to prevent loneliness during the lockdown period. Since May 2020 the team have generously volunteered their time on their lunchbreaks and outside of their working hours to make befriending calls and have so far made 374 calls to 11 patients. Many of these calls have lasted up to an hour or more and have provided much needed companionship to patients who would otherwise be socially isolated, including one patient who was sadly at end of life and very much needed and benefitted from that support at that time.
The Telephone Befrienders act as a listening ear to patients, share activity ideas and resources, make referrals to Locala’s services or signpost to other organisations where appropriate. The Befrienders have set weekly goals with their patients to help them stay positive and improve their mental wellbeing, shared recipes and baking tips and have asked the Volunteering Team to post crosswords to patients so that they can complete them together over the phone. Both the patients and the volunteers look forward to their calls each week and one patient even described the calls as ‘a lifeline’.
The Telephone Befrienders have also benefitted from the calls, as some were also feeling incredibly isolated due to working from home and/or living on their own. A Telephone Befrienders virtual catch-up was introduced in August to help tackle this isolation and has since taken place every fortnight over lunchtime. The virtual catchups provide the Befrienders with the opportunity to share their experiences and support one another and it has been wonderful to see the team develop friendships, not only with their patients but also with each other.
I would therefore like to nominate the Colleague Telephone Befriending Team for an Unsung Hero Award as their valuable contribution has made a huge difference to 11 socially isolated patients over the past 14 months. Covid-19 has highlighted even more how important volunteers are and they truly deserve this recognition.