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An introduction
Episode 29th July 2024 • Volunteering Discovery • Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care System / Hospital Radio Norwich
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Our first episode explores health and social care volunteering in Norfolk and Waveney, highlighting the Get Involved platform by Voluntary Norfolk for connecting volunteers with roles, and the significant contributions volunteers make at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. We meet Hospital Radio Norwich volunteer Irenee, who tells us all about her volunteering and the difference it makes for patients.

Find the Get Involved platform here https://www.getinvolvednorfolk.org.uk/

To find out more about volunteering at the Norfolk and

Norwich University Hospital - https://www.nnuh.nhs.uk/getting-involved/volunteer-with-us/become-a-volunteer/

Learn more about Hospital Radio Norwich https://www.hospitalradionorwich.co.uk/

Visit the Volunteering Discovery page https://improvinglivesnw.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/volunteering-discovery-podcast/

Get in touch:  jules.alderson@nhs.net

Volunteering Discovery is a Hospital Radio Norwich production for Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System.

Transcripts

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Hello and welcome to Volunteering Discovery.

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This is a podcast which takes you behind the scenes of volunteering in

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health and care in Norfolk and Waveney.

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Volunteers enhance the experience of people accessing health and

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care in a huge variety of ways.

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In our hospitals, our communities and even from the comfort of their own homes.

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In each podcast we'll be hearing from those who give their

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time supporting others and the people who work alongside them.

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I'm your host, Sarah, a volunteer coordinator working in the NHS.

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To start our journey of volunteering discovery, we'll be hearing from two

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people who know an awful lot about health and care volunteering and can

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help us understand different parts of the volunteering world in Norfolk and Waveney.

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A great deal of this volunteering happens outside of our hospitals or health

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centres, mostly facilitated thanks to our vibrant local, voluntary community,

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faith and social enterprise sector.

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Our first guest, Laura Holland, will be introducing us to

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volunteering in these settings.

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If you've ever been to a hospital, you may have noticed volunteers

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offering a friendly welcome and a helping hand to find your way around.

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The volunteering team at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital can

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be spotted in their red waistcoats.

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Sally Dyson will be telling us about the important role these

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volunteers play and how volunteering fits alongside staff roles.

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Part of this team are the Hospital Radio Norwich Volunteers, without

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whose time and expertise this podcast wouldn't have been possible.

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We will be meeting a member of their team, Irene, who will be

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explaining why Hospital Radio is so much more than the music they play.

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We hope you enjoy the episode.

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If you've ever gone online to look for a volunteering role in Norfolk,

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you probably came across the Voluntary Norfolk Get Involved platform.

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We asked Laura Holland to explain what she does and what

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you might find on Get Involved.

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My name's Laura.

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I work for Voluntary Norfolk.

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I support organisations that work with volunteers and I manage the Get

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Involved Norfolk volunteering platform.

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Volunteering is giving your time freely to support good causes and that can

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be regular volunteering, that can be every now and again supporting events

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that charities are running, there really is a lot of variety within it.

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The Get Involved platform is an online searchable database

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of roles across the county.

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It works very similar to those that work with employment, so things

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like Indeed or the EDP's 24 site.

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You can search roles, you can apply for roles, and you can communicate

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with the organisation to get a better understanding of what the role involves.

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You can also use the platform to log your volunteering hours.

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So you can demonstrate how much volunteering that you've done, the

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skills that you've used, and any new skills that you've developed through it.

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And it's a great place for the organizations to really get

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out there what's available.

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I answer general inquiries from organizations, anything from promoting

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their volunteers, to how to word a role description, to managing the platform.

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So that's inquiries regarding its use, how to use it effectively, and just

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support with any sort of tech inquiries.

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We've got over 400 organisations currently registered.

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Within that, I think we've got many more on the way.

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There's a wide variety of organisations that are on the platform, many of which

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that I'm sure people would have heard of.

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So ERS medicals, non emergency patient transport, Norfolk Community Health and

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Care, so that's your community hospitals.

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There's also organisations that may not be on people's radars

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like West Norfolk Befriending.

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It's a great place to search organisations and really find out what's available.

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It's important to note that not all volunteering roles within health

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and social care are based in doctor surgeries in community hospitals

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or in the large, larger hospitals.

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There's a variety of roles across the county that are supporting

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charities and groups that support health and social care in other ways.

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Charities like Age UK Norfolk, Activities Befrienders, Going into residential homes

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and supporting residents with just a bit of company, maybe a cup of tea and a chat.

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There's also a lot of charities that need support with digital roles, social media,

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with communications, with photography.

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So if you've got a skill or a hobby that you'd like to share, you'd like to

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support the health and social care sector, there's a massive variety out there.

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Which volunteer roles are available often changes depending on the

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availability of volunteers and the needs of organisations at any given moment.

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To give an idea of the kind of roles that you can find, we asked Laura to tell us

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about the roles available in Spring 2024.

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There's a wide variety of roles across the county.

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So we've got 125 the moment, all the way from Kingsland in the

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west, all the way to Great Yarmouth and up to Cromer and down south.

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Lots available.

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We've got roles for East Anglian Air Ambulance.

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They are looking for volunteers to demonstrate CPR to groups

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using their equipment.

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That's a lovely role.

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There's ward support roles with Norfolk Community Health and Care, so that's

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more one to one support that clinical staff don't get the time to support with.

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There's therapy group volunteers at Norfolk Hospice and there's

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events volunteers with Priscilla Bacon Lodge, so it's very varied.

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Anything that involves befriending, one to one support tends to be really popular.

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I think volunteers, when they're looking for roles, they want.

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to be able to see their impact and have that contact and feel that they're really

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supporting and making a difference.

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So those roles tend to be more popular than things that are based over the

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telephone and sometimes admin roles.

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Laura meets hundreds of people every year who are keen to find

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the right volunteer role for them.

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Through those conversations she has learnt that there is a lot that people don't

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know about health and care volunteering.

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I think people that are looking to volunteer in health and care often think

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it's incredibly demanding, that you need to have basic medical knowledge, that

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you'll be providing a lot of intensive support, and that's not the case.

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That's what the clinical staff are there for.

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In fact, volunteers quite often provide companionship, conversation

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to patients, particularly those that don't get many visitors.

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They can help engage patients in activities, really fun activities,

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like crafts and jigsaws.

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Basically, you don't need any experience, just willingness and

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helpfulness, and you'll be a valuable asset to the health and social care.

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Every organisation is different, but the training involved

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will be specific to that role.

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So you'll always be able to pick up the skills that you need to volunteer.

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Volunteering is also a great way to progress into a career

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with health and social care.

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So there's a lot of roles that volunteer that lead to specific careers.

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We've got a few on the Get Involved platform at the moment as well.

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No experience and no qualifications necessary.

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I think the most common misconception is it's working for free.

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And it's not working for free.

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It's supporting the organizations to give those patients the best

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experience and care possible.

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Also, I don't have enough time is quite a common one that we come across.

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We have a lot of conversations with people about what does that mean for

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you when you say you don't have enough time, what commitment could you provide,

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but also seeing what the options are.

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A lot of roles are flexible.

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A lot of roles can work from home.

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So there's those elements.

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That you can do a bit from home as well if you can't sort of commit to travelling.

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But also with the increase of employer supported volunteering, if you are

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working full time and you don't want to commit to doing weekends, there may be

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something that your employer can offer so that will release you to do some

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volunteering within your work time.

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During this series we'll be hearing from volunteers about what they

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do, why they choose to volunteer and what keeps them coming back

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to give their time to help others.

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We asked Laura what the Get Involved platform can tell

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us about people interested in health and care volunteering.

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I think there's a balance really between people that have recently retired and

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they've got a lot more free time and they want to be able to give back and

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there's also people that are looking for career changes and so volunteering

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within health and care is a great sort of springboard into getting the

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career within that sector as well.

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There are more women that volunteer.

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They tend to be of retirement age or later years.

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There's also more volunteering roles and volunteering activity

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in higher population areas.

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So the larger towns and villages, obviously you've got your big ones,

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Kingsland, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, North Walsham and Cromer are quite popular.

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People looking for roles and organizations advertising for roles.

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And then you have those areas that, uh, Seem to not have any

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activity because they're hyperlocal.

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They look after themselves, it's not something that they need to

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advertise because they're, they recruit from their little villages.

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The data that we get from the Get Involved platform is that the most applications

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and the most searches are actually within health and well being roles, community

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and family, with the other one that's quite popular is anything with animals.

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That's always going to be quite top of the list.

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A lot of people are very specific in what they, they would like to do

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and what they want to spend their time, which is understandable.

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If you're giving your time freely, you're going to want to have

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that idea of what you want to do.

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It is also quite popular just to see what's available locally, and we try

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and encourage people to do that as well.

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I think because a lot of people have a misconception of volunteering,

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that it's just charity shops and it's just fundraising, they forget

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there's a lot of variety within it.

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So we try and encourage people to put their postcode in, the distance that

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they're able to travel, and just see the variety before they start to make

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a decision on what they'd like to do.

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Another misconception Laura has come across is the idea that people

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need to come with a lot of previous experience to be able to join a health

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and care organisation as a volunteer.

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Quite the opposite, and in a nutshell, no.

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Experience is gained within the role, and that's a really valuable way to get

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experience within health and social care.

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Regarding qualifications, all the training that you will need to be

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able to do your role at the best of your ability will be provided to you.

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There's always support available.

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There's always additional training if you feel that there's

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something else that you'd like to add to your toolkit of skills.

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Thanks.

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So if you've got no experience, if you've never even set foot in a hospital

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or clinical setting, it may be a bit daunting, but there is support available.

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You will not be left on your own to fend for yourself.

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The 2023 report, Time Well Spent, from the National Council for

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Voluntary Organisations, showed that volunteering is in decline in England.

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During her time in the role, Laura has seen how volunteering has changed

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over the years and has an idea of where the future of volunteering lies.

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Unfortunately, the current trajectory shows that volunteering

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numbers are steadily declining.

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So, organisations really do need to look at the flexibility of the

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roles, what volunteering looks like, tailoring roles specific to the

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volunteers that are available, rather than having a list of volunteers.

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This is the task that you need to do.

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Doing it as a bit more of a bespoke role.

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I think that's going to be quite important.

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We are also facing challenges of an ageing population.

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These are the most likely to volunteer, so that's going to be a bit of a struggle.

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There seems to also be a lot more of stress in the workplace.

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Employers are having to look at new and innovative ways to hire and retain staff.

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And we're seeing more employer supported volunteering, so I think

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that is going to continue to rise.

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We've done employer supported volunteering recently, so I did get to go to PACT.

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Yes, it's an animal charity.

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I was doing a variety of different roles within PACT.

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I think, yeah, definitely that's going to be quite popular.

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Ultimately, volunteering, you know, is going to change radically.

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I think that we're going to see a lot more changes in a short period of time.

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We need to be responsive to that.

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Voluntary Norfolk are at the forefront of this with our new volunteering

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strategy, which brings together statutory organizations like the

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NHS, councils and businesses, household named businesses like Aviva.

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I think we need to ensure that volunteering remains relevant.

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to help and support organizations to create those bespoke roles and ensure

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that it's accessible to everyone, there's flexibility, and that anybody

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who wants to volunteer has access to it.

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Volunteering doesn't just take place out in our communities.

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Health and care volunteering is probably most associated with our hospitals.

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To help us understand more about this, we turn to our next guest.

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My name is Sally Dyson.

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I'm the Voluntary Services Manager at NNUH.

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That's the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

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For I've been doing that role for 25 years.

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I think every day is different.

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Never know what we're going to get.

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We never know what to expect.

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Every day we come in something different's happening.

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The scope of the roles that we can develop because the NHS is changing

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all the time and the needs of the NHS is changing all the time and

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therefore There's always opportunities.

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I sit in meetings and I listen very intently about the challenges that people

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are having around the organization.

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In my mind I'm already thinking about how volunteers might be able to support that.

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I think the people make it.

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Our volunteers are incredibly diverse.

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They come from every walk of life you can imagine.

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They come with all sorts of stories and experiences.

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They're just fascinating.

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And I love each and every one of them.

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It's getting to know them, understanding their motivations, knowing their

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life stories is incredibly rewarding.

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So my role's pretty massive.

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I'm quite autonomous in the organisation.

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I am the only person involved in volunteering, so I lead the whole

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provision for voluntary services.

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That involves service development.

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I inherited the service with a handful of volunteers, really, and set about how

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I could develop that service further.

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That meant providing funding to do that, so I've spent a lot of time

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writing funding bids, bringing money into the organisation that's in turn

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enabled me to recruit coordinators.

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And although a lot of the services in HR and our governance around

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the hospital are very similar, with volunteering there are certain benefits.

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Elements that we have to adjust to make it more volunteer appropriate.

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And for that reason there was a little bit of a learning curve right at the bottom.

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It's not just done by NNUH volunteers.

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We also engage with all our external VCSEs across Norfolk and we've

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got lots of external VCSEs now affiliated to the organization.

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That can be the big ones that we all know about people like the

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RVS and Red Cross and Age UK.

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right down to tiny little self grown support groups that may have

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been brought together by certain specialities within the organization,

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all of which actually provide volunteer services across the organization.

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The only other area I think I probably need to mention is our regional

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and national partnership working.

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So I'm a member of NABSOM, the National Association of Voluntary Services

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Managers and I run the East Anglian hub for NAVSIM and that supports volunteer

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management and volunteer management development right across the East Anglia

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for me and across the UK nationally.

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Volunteers play a huge part in the NHS, I think, generally.

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And although our volunteers don't prop up shortfalls in paid jobs,

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their support with basic tasks around the organisation really

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enhances what we are able to provide.

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It releases time for our staff to care better by volunteers

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doing some very simple tasks.

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It can be anything from running errands or just, you know, I don't know, helping

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a patient cut some food up at meal time or going to collect a set of patient

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notes or pushing somebody somewhere in a wheelchair, taking somebody out

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for a little walk around the hospital.

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All that just provides that additional support to our patients

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and allows our staff to concentrate on caring for the patients that

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really need their support and help.

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It is a massive role.

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We have a myriad of volunteer roles across our organisation.

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I wouldn't even be surprised.

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begin to start to list them all, but there are a huge amount of things that

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volunteers can do to support the NHS.

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Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital volunteers do many roles beside the

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meeting and greeting role that we mentioned in the opening of the episode.

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Sally talked us through some of the roles that you might not have heard of.

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At NNUH we have, as I said, a myriad of roles.

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We have volunteers on wards helping at mealtimes, they will, we have volunteers

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that are specifically trained to feed patients on wards, and we also have

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volunteers that will just go on to wards and help during the mealtime to help cut

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up food and encourage patients to eat.

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They provide some social interaction for our patients, so various enrichment

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activities where they might play music or do some coloring or some knitting

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or some painting with patients.

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For those patients that are lonely, they can just provide companionship.

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We have some music therapy.

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Volunteers will go on and play music with patients, or they'll take an iPad

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and they'll talk about Old movies and old clips and sort of memory stimulation

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for our patients with dementia.

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They can also support with timely discharge.

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We have a volunteer driver scheme who are able to take non complex patients

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when they're ready to go and they'll help with all sorts of areas, really.

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They'll also help with the delivery of medications, delivery of equipment,

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which might in turn enhance the opportunity for a discharge.

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So if an OT is trying to get a patient out, for instance, and.

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They're relying on their equipment being at the house.

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We could take the equipment home.

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The patient might need to go with a more complex patient transport option, but that

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still enables that discharge to happen because we've got the equipment back.

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Yeah, just speeding up at discharges.

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Generally, we've got a team of volunteers who support out in the community.

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So our settling service volunteers will meet patients at home.

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They'll help with just checking lighting and heating.

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They'll unpack the patient's bag for them.

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They'll put washing in the washing machine.

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They'll check that they've got food in the house.

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They might go and do some shopping for them.

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And then they'll come back and perhaps provide a light meal and a coffee and

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they'll sit with the patient and have a chat and just help that face patient

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feel a little bit more comfortable and confident about being home, especially

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for the elderly who may have been here a long time, that really is a, an amazing

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enhancement to have that help and support.

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We then have the emergency department volunteers and this is a relatively new

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one that's been grown really over the last couple of years to the point where

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volunteers are now right across ED.

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They're across every single area of the emergency department, in the

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majors department, in minors, in children's ED, in older people's ED.

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They really are everywhere.

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They help with things like escorting patients, cleaning beds.

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They can provide companionship things.

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For patients that are lonely or scared, we often get elderly coming,

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perhaps with dementia and ED is a really scary environment for them.

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So they'll support them through their journey through ED and take them to places

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like, um, x ray or if they need to go and have some tests while they're there.

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We also have a specially trained team of volunteers that work alongside our mental

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health team and they will sit and support patients that have presented with a mental

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health episode and can sit and just be a companion, just have conversations

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with that person and are able to actually signpost to people to services

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post discharge once they've left A& E.

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They're the kind of key roles but the list really is endless.

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As we were recording the interviews for this podcast series, one of

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our guests posed a good question.

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They asked about the role of volunteers within the NHS and how this can sometimes

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be perceived as volunteers taking on tasks that staff should be doing.

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Volunteers don't carry out the same tasks as employees.

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They provide no clinical care.

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For instance, they wouldn't be expected to, I don't know, deal with bodily fluids.

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They wouldn't be expected to take somebody's vital observations.

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They wouldn't be expected to do anything that a clinical member has been trained

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to do as part of their training.

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For What they can do is they can sit and comfort somebody for hours,

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or they can encourage somebody to finish a plate of food, or they can

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just be there and as staff support.

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If a staff member feels that they've done what they need to do, they've had their

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interaction with that patient, but they really feel that that patient could then

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benefit from having somebody sit with them for a little bit longer to perhaps

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encourage that meal or encourage that bedside exercise or encourage that, that.

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That movement, they can then work with their volunteers to make sure their

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volunteers continue that care for them.

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Some roles I think are really advantageous to be volunteer roles and being volunteer

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led is actually quite important.

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An example of that would be our patient experience and engagement.

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role.

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So the volunteers go out and carry out family and friends test surveys.

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I think because they're volunteers, they're seen as impartial.

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They don't have a uniform.

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They're not providing any kind of care for that patient.

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And I think for that reason, our patients are very willing to give very

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honest and very truthful feedback.

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Which obviously is incredibly useful for us when we're looking

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at making improvements or designing services going forward.

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All of our volunteer roles are very thoroughly risk assessed

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against job substitution.

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The way we look at job substitution is if our whole team of volunteers,

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we've got around 450 volunteers at the moment now, if our whole team of

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450 volunteers suddenly didn't come in tomorrow, Would services cease?

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And the answer is absolutely not.

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The hospital would still keep running, services would still be provided.

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Nothing would change really apart from the enhancement that volunteers bring.

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So volunteers do just enhance services.

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They don't replace, they don't replace paid roles, they're

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not brought in to bridge a gap.

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If some of the staff members are off sick, they can't do that.

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Their roles are very robustly risk assessed.

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They have boundaries within their roles.

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They sign a role description, which is a workplace agreement to stay, that

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they stay within those boundaries.

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So absolutely not, it's not a replacement, it is an enhancement, and what it does

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is it provides just very basic support.

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But support, that frees up time for our clinical staff to care

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tasks that they would have to do if the volunteers weren't there.

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And that could be anything from running a set of notes from one end of the

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hospital to another, which might take that clinical person for half an hour.

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That's another half an hour.

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They've got to care if the volunteers done that for them.

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So I think it's really important to put into perspective what

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volunteers do provide and the offer.

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That they're here for, not any kind of clinical role.

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It's about providing a more holistic, non clinical dimension to hospital life.

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Volunteers have huge amounts of time, that's what they bring to us, their time.

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Last year our volunteers provided 170, 000 hours of help and support to NNUH, which

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I think is an incredible contribution.

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That is a huge commitment of time for the volunteer team.

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All of that time support can't go unnoticed.

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Our staff, patients and visitors feedback about volunteering

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intervention is always really positive.

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They're so grateful for volunteer support and the services that they can provide.

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Often commenting on how generous they are with their time and

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how people focused they are.

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Ensuring that social and holistic needs are recognised

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alongside their clinical care.

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The roles that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

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have available are so varied.

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We asked Sally to tell us about the people who put themselves forward

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for the different activities.

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Is there a typical volunteer?

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So our volunteers come from all walks of life.

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Our volunteers can be students that might be looking for

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support to support their careers.

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studies or the career aspirations that might be somebody who's

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looking for a career change and just wants to have a taster of a of an

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experience of working in a hospital.

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They might be people who've had a personal or family experience of our care

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and they want to give something back.

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We hear that a lot at interview that we want to come and volunteer because

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we've been cared for in this particular area or we're still a patient in that

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particular area or my family was a member A patient in that particular area, and

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we really want to give something back to that team because they were so amazing.

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We get retired people who are looking for something meaningful to do with their time

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post retirement, and people who've lost a loved one here perhaps who want to support

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the speciality that cared for them.

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There's a whole manner of reasons.

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We work with some agencies as well that sort of support people with

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mental and physical disabilities, and we can provide roles for them.

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Some of those roles are incredible, the volunteers come along and they're

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incredibly reliable and come and provide an amazing service for us.

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I think, ultimately, there's a role for everyone.

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I don't think we have any barriers to volunteering at NNUH.

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Our youngest volunteer is 16 and our oldest at the moment is 94, so I

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think we really don't have too many barriers to people volunteering and

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we can be very creative with roles.

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The purpose of Volunteering Discovery is to share volunteering stories and

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learn more about what volunteers do within health and care in our area.

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For Sally, there is one aspect that she thinks people don't always appreciate.

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People generally have a good idea of the benefits to the organisations.

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I think that's quite widely publicised.

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I think the area That probably is missing is I'd like the benefits to the volunteers

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to be a bit more widely recognized.

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Volunteering can provide so many benefits to both mental and physical health.

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It can counteract the effects of stress and isolation and anxiety, which in turn

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may prevent somebody from becoming a patient and ultimately needing our care.

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So it's incredible the support that a volunteer role can give somebody.

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Working for the benefits of others in the community, I think, provides a real

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natural sense of accomplishment and can have a really positive impact on people's

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confidence in pursuing their future goals.

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So yeah, I think that's the area I think that I would really like

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to see more widely publicised.

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And also the variation of roles.

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I think we've talked a little bit about ward roles, clinic

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roles, end of life discharge.

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They're the ones I think probably that are more widely publicised, but volunteering

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in the NHS can be much wider than that.

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We have a huge amount of careers in the NHS and volunteering could provide a

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some experience in administration or IT skills or the list is endless really.

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So yeah, I think it's really about the benefits to the volunteers and

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the kind of roles that are available.

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When the idea of a podcast about health and care volunteering was first

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discussed, the practical side of how to actually do it was a big question for us.

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It was Sally who suggested that the Hospital Radio Norwich team would be able

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to help us turn this idea into a reality.

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Yes, I thought a volunteering podcast should be designed by volunteers, really.

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I just felt the Hospital Radio team are incredible.

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They've been here, it's a really important year for them here, actually, this year.

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They've been providing this service at NNUH for 50 years this year.

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They've got a wealth of skills.

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They come in every single day.

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And every single evening providing such an amazing service that I felt

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if we are providing a podcast about volunteering, who better to be involved

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in producing it than the team that provide all the patient entertainment

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and have done for years and years.

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So yeah, I felt it was really important that we included them in this.

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The Hospital Radio Norwich volunteers are not the only volunteers who have

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helped bring this podcast to life.

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Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital volunteer Philip composed

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and performed the original music.

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And what a volunteer.

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Philip is registered blind.

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He comes into the hospital each week to carry out his work.

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surveys to our patients post discharge and, and is incredible,

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absolutely inspirational person, but is a very talented musician.

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So when we were producing the podcast, I thought I know what we'll do.

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We'll ask Philip if he can compose something for us so that it's individual

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and it's specific to this podcast.

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I think overall, isn't it?

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It's, it tells a lovely story, doesn't it?

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A podcast about volunteering produced by volunteers.

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composed by volunteers and we'll be interviewing hundreds of

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volunteers along the way I'm sure.

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The first volunteer we'll be meeting in this series is Irene, a

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member of the hospital radio team.

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We asked Irene to introduce herself and hospital radio Norwich.

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My name is Irene Batch, I've been a volunteer with hospital radio for Well

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over 40 years, covered all aspects of what we actually do at Hospital

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Radio, which involved broadcasting, visiting patients at their bedside.

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I actually started 50 years ago.

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It was, uh, It was got together by a group of people when we had the West

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Norwich Hospital, which is now Norwich Community Hospital, and they began

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broadcasting from the chapel weekly.

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It was picked up by a businessman in the city who gave us some premises

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in Norwich to actually start off so that we could do it more readily.

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It was very good.

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In fact, how I actually became involved was I was a volunteer

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with the voluntary services.

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And my job was to take the telephone round to patients going back a few years.

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As I was a volunteer here with the Voluntary Service Department and when the

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hospital radio started up and I asked if I would like to join them, I thought, yeah,

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that sounds quite good actually, visiting patients and playing the music and that.

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And so I said, yeah, I'll give it a go.

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So I was on trial and did all what I should do and I never looked back.

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In fact, I met my husband, Bob, down here.

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We got married fairly quickly.

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We've been together for 45 years.

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We both have the same interest regarding hospital radio and we want to.

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The best for it, of course.

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We are self supporting, which means we have to think of ways of raising money.

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Again, I have been in the role of fundraising officer as well, but my

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main role has been the on secretary of the organisation, taking care

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of the day to day administration, as well as physically helping, not

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actually helping patients, but visiting patients, broadcasting their requests.

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What we do here, it is We live broadcast.

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We're actually going out 24 7, but in the evening we visit

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the patients in the wards.

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We have proper routers, so we know we don't just do the same ward twice or

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when it hasn't, not as it should be.

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Yeah, that part of it is very enjoyable actually, going round the ward.

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Towards visiting patients, having a chat with them, hearing what they have to say,

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they always have a little story for you.

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Obviously, we mustn't say why they're in hospital or anything like that,

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but they do tell you bits about their family, which we can relate when we're

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actually planning a request for them.

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It makes it quite personal and it makes them feel good.

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Them feel special.

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Irene told us more about what a session might be like for

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a hospital radio volunteer.

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They arrive here in the evening, early evening, and then they sign in.

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They will then collect the request slips and take them to the

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wards to speak to the patients.

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Fill the request Slips in.

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They now come back.

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We make the program up off the computer where all the music is stored.

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Usually for about half an hour, each volunteer will broadcast to their, the

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patients they've visited for half an hour.

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Then all the music is logged so we know what patients have asked for.

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That's how we base the music selection that we actually put out

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on what patients have asked for.

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Say if it was six o'clock, we went round and tell the patient that.

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This particular piece of music they requested would

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or could be played between 8.

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We did it like that so it's not a long while for patients to

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have to wait for their request.

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That's why we break the request program up into half hour slots.

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So that makes it easy for patients and it also makes it easier for the volunteer.

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They know exactly how many they need.

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to fill a half an hour slot.

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I joined the Tuesday team.

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At the moment it's just myself and Mike.

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And we both visit patients on the different wards.

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I have a chat with them and stay for about, I suppose it takes about 40

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minutes or so to get seven requests because whilst you're talking to people

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it obviously takes a little bit of time.

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I like to chat to them and To see, be friendly, be friends.

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And then we both usually get back at the same time.

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Then Mike will put the program together and he will present.

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He does ask me to do it from time to time but it's usually himself that does it.

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So that we get a good hour or more of requests for patients.

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They can also ring in or email us if they want a song there and then.

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Doing anything new for the first time can be a little daunting.

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For We asked Irene if she had any worries when she first joined the team.

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I did to start with, especially visiting missions and what I should say, but the

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secretary at the time was quite good and she explained a lot of it to me.

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In fact, I went off on my own and did it quite early in joining the service.

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We heard from Sally earlier in the episode that often volunteers get a

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great deal out of the experience, as well as the people or organisation

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they are gifting their time to.

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This was the case for Irene, who credits her volunteering with much more

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than introducing her to her husband.

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I certainly have learned a great deal by being part of the management team, being

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a trustee, having to present yourself.

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In the ways that we do, it's given me a lot of confidence actually, which I think

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it does for members, new volunteers.

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Once they get used to people, meeting the team, being part of the team,

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and then visiting patients, it does give a lot of confidence and, as I

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said before, communication skills.

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You become part of a team.

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You meet up with other people, and you have your own little social

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circle within the team, although this is going on each night.

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There is a different team each night.

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Some teams will help each other out, so we all get to know each

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other, which is a good thing.

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And I must say, we have got a very nice volunteership within Hospital Radio.

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They're all very caring people, indeed, and I've made some very

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nice relationships there in the past, which is still going on.

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Listening to the service that Hospital Radio provides, it may seem that

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technical skills are the priority for potential new volunteers.

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We've seen the Hospital Radio studio ourselves, and seen that it's full

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of shiny equipment, dials and more.

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But Irene assures us that the technical know how is not the most important thing.

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We look for somebody who's obviously sympathetic to patients.

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They need to have a little bit of music knowledge, it doesn't really matter.

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You have to really want to be involved with the hospital itself.

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The organisation does get quite a lot of people who just want to sit behind

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the desk and play the songs they want.

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That isn't what we're here for.

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We're here for the patients and what the patients want.

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We get that by visiting them.

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The hospital radio team have been enhancing patient experience

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for many years, overcoming practical obstacles along the way.

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Despite the changes in how we access entertainment, Sally is

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convinced the team will be making a difference for a long time to come.

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So as well as providing a radio station, And ensuring our patients

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requests are played, they're also providing a really valuable visiting

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service and they tend to target those patients that have no visitors.

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So it's really key.

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They're pretty amazing.

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We collect data on a monthly basis as to what has been accessed

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throughout the entertainment system.

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And we've got lots of very whizzy IT options on our entertainment system.

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But the most popular one actually is hospital radio.

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It's The one that's most accessed, which is interesting really in this day I

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guess some patients probably access their own entertainment on their own devices.

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If they're younger people, perhaps, I don't know, but certainly from the

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entertainment system perspective, hospital radio is still the most popular.

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They provide more than just a radio station.

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You can't get companionship from a mobile phone, can you?

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And I think that's key.

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I think that is, it's such a person centred delivery that they provide for our

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patients, and I think that's key, really.

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I think that's the thing that's probably going to keep them

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going for many years to come.

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We look forward to sharing more volunteering stories

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over the coming weeks.

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Until next time, we leave you with some parting thoughts from Sally

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and Laura for anyone who is thinking that volunteering might be for them.

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Yeah, pursue it.

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My advice really would be to pursue it.

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Go and have a look and see what's out there and see what fits your motivations.

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The best place to start is to head over to the Get Involved

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Norfolk volunteering platform.

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On that platform you can search a variety of roles.

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The best way to do that is to put one your starting points, your postcode or

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your city, the distance you're willing to travel and see what comes up from there.

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There's 125 roles in health and social care.

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There's definitely be something that you'll be interested in.

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A big thank you to Laura, Sally and Irene for joining us.

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To find out more about volunteering with Hospital Radio or the Norfolk and Norwich

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University Hospital or the Get Involved platform, please see our show notes.

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Please don't forget to subscribe, rate and review this podcast.

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It all helps people find us and spread the word about volunteering.

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This podcast was produced for the Norfolk and Waverley Integrated

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Care System by Hospital Radio Norwich, hosted by Sarah Briggs.

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Producer was Jules Auderson.

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Original music composed and performed by Philip Aldred.

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Interviews by Sarah Briggs and Jules Alderson.

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2. An introduction
00:38:24
1. trailer Welcome to Volunteering Discovery
00:02:16