Morecambe Bay health trust celebrates its fantastic volunteers by sharing their stories

As part of Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is celebrating its fantastic volunteers by sharing their stories.

By Michelle Blade
Monday, 1st June 2020, 4:05 pm
Updated Monday, 1st June 2020, 4:06 pm
Charles Elliott, volunteer for UHMBT meals on wheels.
Charles Elliott, volunteer for UHMBT meals on wheels.

Around 370 people volunteer across the Trust’s hospital sites in roles such as welcoming visitors and helping with general enquiries, gardening, assisting at meal times – distributing meals, making drinks and talking to patients and helping at fundraising events.

Yvonne has volunteered for the Trust for 25 years. She said: “Volunteering has a positive impact on your health; it helps to reduce boredom and loneliness. We all enjoy the social interaction and helping our patients by providing information and directions.”

Through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Trust has received a staggering amount of support from the local community and ex-members of staff who have gone above and beyond to help our staff and patients.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sandra Lively, a retired midwife, who has lived in Halton near Lancaster for 30 years, wanted to do her bit during the pandemic by making a few pairs of scrubs and donating them to staff at the Trust.

Sandra enquired about purchasing fabric from Standfast, Lancaster, sufficient to make two to three pairs and was ‘stunned’ when offered a donation of 1,000 metres of fabric, enough to make 300 pairs of scrubs.

Within seven days of advertising for volunteer help via Facebook, the new ‘Morecambe Bay Scrubs’ group was formed.

To date, over 60 volunteers have joined and 60 sets of scrubs have been donated to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Sandra Lively and volunteers from Morecambe Bay Scrubs group.

Sandra said: “The response has been overwhelming. So many people want to participate in different ways.”

Volunteers play a big part in vital services that are run in the Trust’s hospitals and in the community.

The Trust’s Meals on Wheels service is supported by 20 volunteers who help to deliver fresh, home-cooked food to some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in the Barrow area.

The Trust’s two hospital radio stations Bay Trust Radio and Radio Lonsdale are run entirely by volunteers.

Volunteers at UHMBT. Picture was taken before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to a kind donation from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service of 15 iPads, Bay Trust Radio volunteers have set up the iPads to allow patients to listen to the radio, access the latest news and keep in touch with friends and family during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, volunteers have also played an important part in delivering nourishing and high-quality food to staff working in Covid-19 RED areas and colleagues who need to self-isolate at home.

More than 2,000 packages per day have been distributed across UHMBT’s three main hospital sites as part of the Salute the NHS campaign and the Trust is hugely grateful for this incredibly generous donation.

Other third sector organisations that are based at and work with the Trust also rely on volunteer support.

The Royal Voluntary Service at the Trust is led by around 90 volunteers and offers services such as cafes, fitness classes and meaningful and engaging activities for patients with dementia.

A Macmillan Information and Support Service across the Trust’s three main hospital sites is assisted by volunteers who provide a host of services including emotional and physical support for people affected by cancer.

Blood Bikes North West which works closely with the Trust is an Emergency Volunteer Service that provides the out of hours transportation of urgent medical supplies such as; samples, results and scans, medication and equipment to any NHS establishment within the Northwest.

Barry Rigg, Head of Patient Experience, UHMBT, said: “Volunteers play an essential role in the way we provide care. Volunteers bring a wealth of experience, time, and commitment to our hospital and community services, our volunteers make a unique contribution to patients, carers, and colleagues at UHMBT.

"We recognise that our volunteers are an essential resource that helps us achieve our vision while supporting and enhancing the patient’s and public experience and perception of our hospitals and community services.”

Sue Smith, OBE, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Chief Nurse, said: “It is really important that we all celebrate our fantastic volunteers and showcase the work that they do to support the Trust, our staff and services, our patients and people in out in our communities.”

Many volunteers at UHMBT have been asked to self-isolate due to the current pandemic but the Trust is still keen to recruit as many people as possible to volunteer.

You can find out more information at https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/get-involved/volunteer-us

You can find out more about volunteers week at https://volunteersweek.org/

You can watch the following video to find out more about the Trust’s Meals on Wheels service https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dduVF0vJWX0.