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02 June 2015

Celebrating the contribution of our volunteers

Volunteers at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) and hospitals' charity, Above & Beyond, are being celebrated this week for National Volunteers' Week - and more are needed to help continue their good work.

Judith Reed, voluntary services manager says: "Volunteers make a real difference to the experience of patients, and their families and carers, while they are with us in hospital. Our volunteers work in a number of different roles, often alongside clinical members of staff. They are an immensely valuable resource, whose time and dedication contributes to enhance services for people who use our hospitals as well as supporting our staff.

"We're currently looking for more volunteers to help on wards, befriending patients and assisting at mealtimes. We also require volunteers at the Welcome Centre in Bristol Royal Infirmary to greet patients and visitors when they first arrive at our hospitals."

One UH Bristol volunteer who won the Volunteer of the Year award in 2014 is Catherine Nanji. Janette Brittan, dietetic assistant, who nominated Catherine for the award, said: "Catherine puts the patients at ease she never rushes and has enormous amounts of patience. For those patients who are nutritionally at risk she makes such a difference."

"Time is a very valuable commodity on the ward and Catherine certainly has a huge impact in a very short time. Encouraging and helping in a dignified way those who cannot manage feed by themselves. Allowing dementia patients to take a lead in the conversation and talk about themselves and their lives - gaining trust and raising a smile."

Those interested in volunteering can call 0117 34 21530 or email The UH Bristol voluntary services team, along with Above & Beyond, will be hosting drop in sessions for the public on 4 June, 10.00am to noon, at the Above & Beyond office located in the Welcome Centre at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Toni Collier, community fundraising manager at Above & Beyond, said: "We are looking for lots of friendly people to join our volunteer team at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta this summer. Each year half a million people visit the fiesta. That's the same number of people who are cared for by our city centre hospitals each year - so it's likely that the hospitals and their dedicated teams have touched your lives in some way.

"Above & Beyond is the official Balloon Fiesta charity partner, and this fiesta time we are asking for your support. There are lots of ways to help, from volunteering on our stand, to giving out leaflets or collecting donations - and once you're at the event, there's all the fun of the fiesta to enjoy. If you love balloons, love meeting people and love your hospitals, then we would love to hear from you."

The UH Bristol voluntary services team will also be attending the Bristol Volunteers' Fair in the Galleries, Broadmead, on 4 June between 1.00pm and 5.00pm, where members of the public can find out more about the opportunities available within the city centre hospitals.

Find out more about volunteering at UH Bristol here