Young volunteer stories

Greg Smith
Aged 18, from Kirkby in Ashfield,  Medicine Student at Newcastle University
 

How did you hear about volunteering at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust?
I knew I wanted to work in medicine and wanted to increase my work experience in the medical field. My mum Elaine Smith works at King’s Mill Hospital and she recommended working there. I thought it was a great idea as I got to support my local hospital and be part of the community.

What do you like about volunteering?
Volunteering is rewarding and made me feel like I was contributing to society. Meeting people from all walks of life and listening to their stories, including their hardships, has definitely made more a more caring and compassionate person. It feels like the world has got bigger because I’m more aware of people and their feelings.

What did you do as a volunteer?
I worked at the Daffodil’s Café for two years. I worked on the tills, cleaned the café and served food and talked to people.

Have you enjoyed volunteering? If so, what have you enjoyed?
I really enjoyed it working at the Trust. Working as a volunteering definitely has made me a better person and I’m really proud to have done it. My favourite part of working as a volunteer was meeting people, especially older people who I wouldn’t normally meet on a day to day basis. I really enjoyed working with husband and wife team Joyce and Eric Theakstone (Eric has sadly passed away). I am so grateful to them for taking me under their wings and teaching me about the hospital and about life.

What advice can you give to new volunteers?
I would say go for it! Don’t be afraid to try anything new. If you are not working or want some life experience – come and volunteer. Thanks to working at the café, I am more independent and can take care of domestic duties, which is really useful when living away from home for the first time. My skills at the café will help me get a job because I have good hospitality, retail and customer service skills. 
 
It is important for young people to get involved:
I think it’s really important for young people to get involved. It helps them integrate with people from ages and learn how to talk to strangers. Mostly it makes you more confident and independent.

Joe Frettsome
Aged 18, from Mansfield – studying Adult Nursing at Lincoln University

How did you hear about volunteering at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust?
I wanted to get some experience in a hospital setting as I was keen to get into nursing.
What do you like about volunteering?
I worked on Ward 52 and got a really good understanding of nurses by observing what they did on wards – the way the related to patients and their families; doctors and everyone else that passed through the ward.
 
What did you do as a volunteer?
I chatted to patients with dementia to keep them company and also encouraged them to talk about their lives as this sometimes helps to trigger memories. I called nurses over for patients and shadowed nurses a couple times

Have you enjoyed volunteering? If so, what have you enjoyed?
I really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to be a nurse but having the chance to visit a hospital and work alongside staff was such a fantastic opportunity to get some experience of working in a hospital environment. The staff and patients were great and I was happy to help in whatever way I could and I think this experience will really help me be a good nurse.

What advice can you give to new volunteers?
I would say go for it and get the best out of it. Working on Ward 52 at King’s Mill Hospital was a unique experience. I think whatever time you want to give up is important, because it makes a difference to someone else.

It is important for young people to get involved:
I would encourage anyone, young or old, to get involved with volunteering. It’s good life experience because you get to see things you normally wouldn’t see. It makes you appreciate what you have and inspires you to help others who cannot help themselves such as patients with dementia. I felt privileged to be doing what I was doing and won’t forget my time with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Meredith Freeman
Aged 18, from Sutton in Ashfield – currently studying medicine at Nottingham  University

How did you hear about volunteering at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust?
My mum Dawn Freeman works at King’s Mill Hospital Maternity Ward as a receptionist and spoke about the volunteers who worked there. I started volunteering at the Daffodil Café when I was about 16 years old as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme. My volunteering placement was only supposed to be for one year but I loved what I was doing so much, I carried on until my university course in medicine started in September 2014.

What do you like about volunteering?
I love meeting different people. The volunteers were lovely and it was nice to raise funds that go back to our local hospital. It’s also nice just to brighten up patients and their families’ day because sometimes they are waiting a long time for their appointments and it feels good to cheer them up. Some of them are so appreciative because they have some company, especially if they come on their own.

What did you do as a volunteer?
I worked in Daffodil Café for nearly two years. I cleaned the café and made it bright and cheerful. I also served tea and provided company for customers.

Have you enjoyed volunteering? If so, what have you enjoyed?
I really enjoyed volunteering and was sad to leave. I think volunteering is fantastic because I get to meet great people and help the hospital. Without volunteers the hospital wouldn’t be able to buy some of the things they need.
 
What advice can you give to new volunteers?
I would say go for it. Everyone is lovely. If you are struggling with what to do, someone will help you. It’s great to help your community and people are really supportive. It’s such a great feeling and fun. Volunteering helps people get jobs because it gives them experience because they are immersed in a working environment. I have had excellent work experience in the café and I believe it helped me to get my job. Volunteering also improves people’s communications skills and improves confidence.
 
Why is it important for young people to get involved?
Yes to improve their communication skills and meet people from other generations who they wouldn’t ordinarily come across. The people at King’s Mill Hospital have been so lovely and I’ve made a lot of friends working here.

Meredith has now successfully achieved her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.