A VOLUNTEER service vital to the Alexander Hospital is in desperate need of help if it is to continue serving the community.
The League of Friends at the Alex provides an irreplaceable caring and friendly service to patients and staff at the hospital, with volunteers manning the coffee shop, keeping the environment welcoming, and providing pastoral care too.
Shifts are split between the committed core of volunteers, who give their time to make the hospital a better place for everyone.
But as it stands there aren’t enough to provide the seven-day service needed to benefit the hospital, meaning that certain shifts – mainly evening and weekend shifts – are at risk.
Part-time coordinator of the Friends, Angela Smith, said: “We are the hub of the hospital. When people who have been visiting relatives, or people from outpatients want to come and have a break, we are there.
“It’s an important place for patients too, and a chance to get away from the ward for a while, to spend time with friends and family in a less clinical environment.
“Our volunteers really understand the value of what we do and completely commit to the cause. They know how important the service is, and we hope more people will come forward to support what we know is vital for the community.”
The League of Friends was established in 1986 when the hospital opened, and the number of volunteers has gradually fallen from around 300 to just 120 coffee shop trained volunteers.
Most do a shift every week and some doing several to keep the service running every day.
“Many of our core team of volunteers are older people and retired, and understandably they cannot continue to work with us forever,” Angela added.
“What we are searching for is new team members who can really see the value in what we do, not only to give something back to the hospital, but to the community as a whole.
“Volunteering is not simply a way of putting something back, but is also an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and expand your horizons.
“It really should be a shared responsibility to help make the hospital the best it can possibly be. We would love to hear from people who want to give something back to the hospital.”
The League also has a fund -raising role and since its launch has raised around £5million for the hospital, putting profits back into the community.
Anyone interested in finding out more can attend the League’s AGM on October 17 at 7.30pm at the hospital. Visit http://www.lof-alex.co.uk/