NHS Tayside celebrates Volunteers’ Week 2021 

NHS Tayside has said a big ‘thank you’ to its many volunteers as part of the annual Volunteer’s Week celebration (1-7 June). 

Staff from the volunteer service teams and members of Tayside NHS Board hosted a series of celebrations where they were able to chat to volunteers and thank them for their service.

A number of long service certificates were given to volunteers who have been with NHS Tayside for many years, with those with more than 5, 10, 15 and 20 years service being recognised for their achievements.

A special mention went to Alison Fraser and Marlene Kenny who have volunteered on the trolley service at Roxburghe House for more than 20 years, to Margaret Storm, a volunteer driver at Cornhill Macmillan Centre with more than 25 years service, and to Mary McLennan, a flower arranger at Roxburghe House, who has given an incredible 40 years of service to NHS Tayside.

Staff from Voluntary Services created a video to send their thanks to those volunteers who have continued with their service during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those who have played their part in helping to reduce the spread by staying at home. The team is looking forward to welcoming back more volunteers as COVID-19 restrictions ease further.

NHS Tayside Chair Lorna Birse-Stewart also recorded a video message to thank all the volunteers on behalf of the Board and Tayside Health Fund.

Mrs Birse-Stewart said, “I’d like to extend my grateful thanks and appreciation to our volunteers for the support they have given to our patients and their families and carers over the last year, despite everything that COVID-19 has presented. Our volunteers are a valued and vitally important part of the NHS Tayside team. I look forward to being able to thank some of them in person as soon as COVID-19 restrictions allow us to get together.

“My thanks also go to the staff who coordinate our volunteer programme. I am that delighted that NHS Tayside received the Investing in Volunteers award this year and this is testament to their hard work and dedication in providing such a supportive environment for our volunteers.”

A number of volunteers will also be sharing their stories throughout the week on NHS Tayside’s social media channels, explaining why they decided to volunteer, what their roles are and what they enjoy about the experience.

There are more than 600 volunteers across NHS Tayside carrying out many roles including meeters and greeters, patient transport, library assistants, health walk leaders, gardeners, flower arrangers, listening volunteers and breastfeeding buddies. 

Most volunteers have been unable to carry out their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic with around 50 volunteers remaining to support the COVID-19 response.  This has included providing a telephone listening service, distributing donated items to staff and patients, assisting with laundering of patients’ clothes and supporting staff in the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Ninewells. Where it is safe to do so, some volunteering roles which were paused are now resuming.

Volunteers come from all walks of life making valuable contributions which enhance the patient experience. People come to volunteering for many different reasons – to give something back, to learn new skills, to meet new people, to keep active but all have the same thing in common – to make a difference.