Volunteers are driving force behind Solent NHS Trust
Solent NHS Trust is extremely proud of our volunteers, helping across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for many years, and others who joined us during the Covid-19 pandemic, wanting to “do their bit” and who have stayed on.
Regardless of the time they have donated to supporting the NHS, their experiences have all differed and they bring many skills and qualities to the Trust that make the service we provide patients better.
Couple, Christine and John Joice are a prime example. Christine started her career as a mature student with a young family, training to join the NHS and specialising in elderly care and stroke rehabilitation. She worked across many disciplines in community and acute healthcare, eventually retiring in 2010. Chris volunteered initially for Solent during the start of Covid, providing a specialist eye over volunteering administration, fielding calls from anxious patients with a reassuring voice and supporting NHS colleagues to continue working in very difficult circumstances. Asked why she returned to volunteer for the NHS when she had already given so much, Chris said: “As a retired nurse, I wanted to help the NHS. I miss my colleagues and the camaraderie, which volunteering has given back to me. Being able to reassure patients has been incredibly rewarding.”
Keen to join his partner of many years, John decided to also volunteer alongside Christine. A retired Royal Naval engineer, John had previously owned his own driving school and is a fully qualified driving instructor, so when the call came to help nurses learn to drive, John was there. Initially, John supported Solent’s nursing recruits from other countries, helping them gain their driving licences in the UK. It is vital that Solent’s nurses can drive in the community to see patients, so this skill is incredibly important.
John now also volunteers to help with driving nurses and patients to where they need to be, along with the occasional delivery of special equipment to a patient’s home. John spends around 30 hours a week volunteering for Solent. John said: “I saw Chris volunteering and we know so many people who have needed the NHS, it felt right to help back. I don’t have any clinical skills, but when I heard they were looking for drivers I thought, ‘I can do that!’. I have friends who volunteer for other good causes, this just seemed the right fit to me.”
John’s first job was to take a nurse to her patient visits in the community. He added: “Normally a visit can take 20 minutes, so I take time to read or listen to the radio. I would say it helps to know your local area. It’s wonderful to see how many lives the nurses touch out in the community, and I would recommend being a driver volunteer to anyone with the time.”
Chris and John are an exceedingly generous couple, donating their time and skills to support the NHS. They both have the same view, which is “nurses have been there for us, so we should be there for them.”
The Trust is actively recruiting for more volunteer drivers to support patients and nurses getting to appointments, and for delivering equipment and medicines where possible. We are grateful to all our volunteers for their time and commitment and reimburse milage.
For more information on how to volunteer, please visit Volunteering with Solent NHS Trust or call 0300 123 4013.