The beginning of June marks the start of Volunteers’ Week, an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the country through volunteering.
In March 2020, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board launched an appeal for volunteers to help support the health service in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 1,800 people signed up to become potential volunteers with a large number of them already deployed into roles across the Health Board.
One of those volunteers is Ian Price, who was furloughed at the end of March, who then decided to sign up to become a volunteer at Ysbyty Gwynedd.
He said: “I usually work in a restaurant, but due to the restrictions around the hospitality sector I have been off work since 23 March.
“I had seen the NHS were looking for volunteers so I decided to apply – we are very lucky to have the NHS so it’s nice to able to offer something in return!”
Due to the visiting restrictions in place at the hospitals Ian has been helping to deliver items such as clothes, brought in by friends and relatives to patients on the wards.
“I do really enjoy being a volunteer. It’s a nice feeling to be doing something good but most of all, the staff who I have worked with make it an enjoyable place to be as do the other volunteers.
“Everyone has been so friendly, helpful and welcoming.”
Steve Marriott suffered a heart attack in 2012 and signed up to become a volunteer to give something back to the NHS.
The 59-year-old from Wrexham who works for Remploy as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, who is currently furloughed, said: “My role as a COVID-19 Response Volunteer sees me delivering important equipment to various locations across North East Wales. I’m really enjoying the chance to give something back to the NHS during this ongoing crisis.
“Not only has volunteering helped with my own personal wellbeing, being out and about having conversations with many of the other important key workers has been inspirational. We really are in this all together.”
Adrian Lemberton, a retired Information Security Manager for Lancashire Police, is one of eight volunteers currently supporting staff at Llandudno Hospital.
He said: “I’m really enjoying my time as a volunteer, it’s really nice as a lot of the time I am chatting with the patients.
“I think it brings them a lot of comfort to have someone to talk to as they can’t see their families at the moment due to the visiting restrictions being in place. As staff are so busy it means they can’t spend a lot of time chatting to the patients so I think having us there really helps them with that.
“I really do get a lot out of the role and when this is over I am going to sign up to become one of the Robin volunteers so I can continue being a volunteer for the health service.”
Applications for our COVID-19 Response Volunteers are currently closed but you can still sign up to become one of the Health Board’s Robin volunteers by visiting here.