As Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Youth Volunteer Project Manager, Liz Charalambous has worked with many young volunteers. Here she talks about the #iwill Youth Volunteer Week, starting this week.
This year we were delighted to launch our new Youth Volunteer Project, run within our hospitals here in Nottingham. This week we are joining NHS teams across the country to mark the #iwill Youth Volunteer Week, celebrating the many benefits.
Funded in partnership with The Pears Foundation #iwill Fund the project has been very popular with young people in Nottingham. We recognise that young volunteers bring something special to patients and services. In this our first year we have done established Fitness Friends and Boredom Buster services where young people help patients stay active and entertained, and run a successful summer school to train up 29 new young volunteers.
Our young volunteers received certificates to demonstrate their competencies in communicating with patients with dementia, preventing delirium, and working on a hospital ward. They also received training from Occupational Therapists and activity co-ordinators to engage patients with activities as part of the Boredom Busters programme, and training from Physiotherapists in how to support patients with exercises for the Fitness Friends programme. Young volunteers also have the opportunity to work towards AQA accreditation.
We have now recruited 40 young volunteers at Nottingham’s hospitals and have many more going through the recruitment process. The feedback has been positive – patients and staff are happy to have extra help, and young volunteers appreciate the training and extra support.
As the project has grown, we are developing a buddy system where experienced volunteers provide support and guidance to newcomers. This has helped volunteers to make friends, develop their skills, and receive extra support. We look forward to seeing the project continue to grow over the coming year.
For more information about the Youth Volunteer Project, please click here.