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Stockport NHS Foundation Trust honouring long service during National Volunteers Week

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust honouring long service during National Volunteers Week

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Chair Tony Warne and Chief Executive Karen James presented awards at the socially distanced event at the hospital’s restaurant as a show of thanks for many years of dedicated volunteering.

The dedication and commitment volunteers put into their work at Stepping Hill Hospital was honoured at a long service awards event during National Volunteers Week.

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Chair Tony Warne and Chief Executive Karen James presented awards at the socially distanced event at the hospital’s restaurant as a show of thanks for many years of dedicated volunteering.

The hospital usually has a dedicated team of over 430 volunteers at the hospital, providing a vitally important service in supporting patients, families, visitors and staff through a wide variety of ways. Roles include helping out on wards at mealtimes, serving at one of the hospital’s shops, and greeting and guiding patients and visitors when they first visit the hospital.

Many volunteers are older, and during the pandemic and lockdown many of them were no longer able to safely work on the hospital site due to risks of infection, although a smaller core of 60 mainly younger volunteers have still been at work during the past year.

With restrictions beginning to ease, some roles such as guides are being reintroduced, and there are currently 130 back at work supporting patients.

One of the longest serving volunteers is 85 year old Charles Hamilton, better known by his nickname ‘Skip’, who has been entertaining children on the hospital’s Treehouse ward for over twenty years, and in other hospitals in Stockport for many years before that.

Skip started out as a scout leader back in the 1950s, and earned a reputation early on for delighting kids with an enthralling show, showing them games from around the world and making paper models.  After retiring from the scouts aged 65 Skip was been cheering up the Treehouse almost every week for decades and in 2013 won a Pride of Britain award for his achievements.

The one thing which could stop his visits was the pandemic and lockdown. Skip was delighted to be back at the hospital to receive his twenty year award. Other recipients received awards for 15, 10 and 5 year periods of service.

Voluntary Service Manager Yvonne Hewitt said

“Our team of volunteers work very hard supporting both patients and staff at hour hospital. Many of them have had to stay home during the pandemic, it’s been necessary to keep everyone safe, but very disappointing for them not to be able to serve as they would like. Thankfully, more volunteers are able to come back on site now, and we hope that continues. Today was a great opportunity to thank them all for their hard work and caring over the years.”

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