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 :
I am nominating Ann Saywell for Unsung Volunteer Hero Award. She has been volunteering at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust for 22 years. During this time she has been a dedicated volunteer in the cafe at St Michael’s Hospital; an inpatient mental health hospital, and is now the volunteer manager running it alongside other volunteers. She is committed to the role, practical and organised and kind and compassionate to patients. We are grateful to Ann for her passion for giving back to the community and running the café, making the rota of volunteers, working with staff members to place orders and efficiently managing and running the cafe.
Twenty two years ago, when Ann retired from a large electronics company as an accounts manager, she would have probably laughed if I told her that she would be managing the volunteer café / shop in St Michaels. However, she bumped into an acquaintance who was a volunteer, and she persuaded her to give it a try. After two or three shifts, she was hooked and she has never looked back.
Ann would say that volunteering at St Michael's gives her a sense of purpose and fulfilment. The customers are many and varied. Some just want a coffee or to peruse the cosmetics or shower gels and move on, while others want a sounding block and someone to speak to, either about their relative or friend, or a patient who just wants someone to talk to. Ann listens to them, talks to them, and understands them. All conversations are in strict confidence and she gets to know some of the customers very well, even to the point of really missing them when they recover and move on. Sadly, some patients return but they never forget Ann and she never forgets them! We feel proud of the service Ann provides for all patients, visitors and staff.
The pandemic meant the ‘Coffee & Chatz’ shop had to close for the whole of lockdown, which meant isolation for the volunteers as well as the clients but now Ann is back and building relationships again.
One of the volunteers adds about Ann;
‘I have been a volunteer in the coffee shop at St. Michaels hospital, Warwick, for about seven years now. Until a relative was an inpatient there I was unaware of its existence. My family and I really benefitted from having a place to meet away from the ward in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The good value prices were impressive too!!
I learnt that the shop was virtually non-profit making, with the profits that are made going back to the wards to buy things such as sports equipment and craft supplies, even Christmas presents for clients unable to go home for Christmas.
I was welcomed straight away by Ann when I asked about becoming a volunteer myself. The first couple of times, she and I worked together until I felt confident to work on my own."