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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Thank You - Voluntary Services Team

17/07/2020

Yvonne, Bridget and Elizabeth have had a busy few months. This is because they make up our Voluntary Services Team.

You may already be aware of the wonderful support our hospitals received from the community at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the many donations and offers of help we received.

Our Voluntary Services Team was the one that carried out the pre-employment checks of over 90 volunteers, to ensure the safe staffing of the seven-days-per-week rota for the distribution of meals and other supplies to front line workers.

With their friendly and supportive approach, they quickly built up a rapport with our new helpers, some of whom have now chosen to stay with us, as the initial phase of the pandemic subsides.

We still need their help. Redesigning our services to ensure our patients, staff and visitors stay safe on our hospital sites means volunteers to check that social distancing rules are followed, and to hand out masks where necessary as people enter our buildings.

Each year, during Volunteers' Week, 1-7 June, we would normally celebrate the contribution of our volunteers with a strawberry cream tea - a chance to get together, meet other volunteers and socialise.

This year, Volunteers' Week occurred during 'lockdown', so instead the team arranged a lovely afternoon tea delivery to our volunteers' homes. This required expert co-ordination to ensure that deliveries were made safely.

The positive feedback from this gesture was overwhelming, not least because some of our volunteers have been 'shielding' and have had limited contact with people.

Our Voluntary Services Team worked effortlessly to ensure they did not feel forgotten, and that their contribution to front line teams and patients, sometimes over many years, continued to be celebrated.

We should also add that this team, like many others, has been working remotely, and has continued to deliver their full service, and much more.

Despite being off-site and separated, they still have a sense of belonging and a clear insight into how their work supports front line services and our patients.

The wonderful kindness and dedication of our volunteers, and the recognition they have received from managers, have really helped their morale during a stressful and worrying time.

Laura Bick, OUH Head of Recruitment and Retention, says:

"The team has received so many positive responses to their activities… Oxford Hospitals Charity sent a personal message thanking them for their support, and the volunteers themselves sent in pictures of their teas!"

"I am proud to lead this hardworking and responsive team."

Terry Roberts, OUH Chief People Officer, says:

"The recent crisis has reminded us how much our volunteers contribute to our services, and we are fortunate to have such a welcoming and efficient team to take care of them.

"The fact that they are choosing to stay now that we are starting up our normal activities again is a testament to the dedication of the Voluntary Services Team."

Thank you, Voluntary Services Team, for all you do!

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