Have you ever thought about becoming a volunteer? As we celebrate Volunteers’ Week 2021, we caught up with East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) volunteer Vanessa Ferguson to discuss her experience of volunteering for ECCH over the last year.
- What types of activities do you do as a volunteer?
I started meeting and greeting patients 2 days a week at the phlebotomy clinic at Beccles Hospital. I now volunteer there 1 day a week, as well as supporting the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Hayden Pharmacy. I also make calls for ECCH to help patients complete the Friends and Family Test. Alongside volunteering, I am studying an Access to Healthcare course at East Coast College.
- What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
ECCH – it’s lovely to be around such cheery people and the staff at the vaccination centres have been so nice – it’s really well run. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the vaccination drive and helping the community to get back to normality.
- How does your volunteering benefit your clients or the organisations you support?
As a volunteer, I have the extra time to spend with patients that maybe the staff wouldn’t. I can help reassure people and take the time to talk them through what is going to happen.
- How has volunteering benefited you?
Volunteering makes me feel better about myself, as I am doing something for someone else. It has gotten me out and improved my confidence, and given me time to reflect on myself and think about how I can achieve my goals. ECCH have been great to volunteer for – so quick and thorough. I want to become a nurse, and volunteering has helped me to gain some bank work as a Healthcare Assistant at Beccles Hospital. I will hopefully start my degree in 2022!
- Do you have any memorable stories from volunteering as part of the COVID-19 response?
I helped a little boy go in to have his blood taken at hospital; he was really scared of having it done and I reassured him until he was able to go in. I feel really proud that I can help patients who need that little bit of extra support.
Thank you to Vanessa for sharing her experience. We are extremely grateful for everyone who has dedicated some of their time over the past year to support ECCH, and our local communities, throughout the pandemic.