21st Anniversary of Volunteer Managers Day

5 November 2020

Val Ewan, Voluntary Services Manager at NHS Tayside shares with us how Covid-19 has impacted their volunteering services and what is next for them for IVMDay 2020.

IVMDay 20_Whats NextThe Covid 19 pandemic has undoubtedly created challenges for many of us. Initially in volunteering we had expected to be recruiting ‘hundreds’ of volunteers to support the hospital but very early on it was clear the focus of support was required within the community for volunteers to do shopping , collect prescriptions and telephone befriending. This work allowed us to forge closer working relationships with the local Volunteer Centres which will most definitely continue.

It has been important to maintain contact with volunteers who’s volunteering was and still is paused. We understand they are missing their volunteering. Volunteers demonstrate compassion within their roles and by the very fact that they volunteer. Contact has been maintained has been via newsletters, telephone calls, texts and zoom catch ups.

Many volunteers are very keen to resume their volunteering as soon as possible but their safety and that of the patients is paramount. We are looking at safe roles and how roles may be adapted to ensure safety. Volunteering opportunities are not fully back to pre Covid, but adapted roles are increasing. Life just now is different and volunteering will adapt as we live through each stage of the journey out of Covid. One thing is for sure that the Spirit of Volunteering will remain. NHS Tayside values and supports volunteers who chose to give time and energy to get involved, participate and help out in our communities. For some volunteers however they are still unable to resume to volunteering. This may be out of personal choice just now while the virus is still prevalent, due to age or health and we recognise this difficult position they are in, respect that choice and will welcome them back when the time is right.

Volunteer Managers and volunteers roles have adapted and reacted and continue to do so to the demands of the pandemic but within healthcare settings the focus remains to have volunteers support patients and staff in a Person Centred way. That will not change.

Thursday 5th November is International Volunteer Managers Day. I would like to thank all of our volunteers, whether they are active or paused, for the incredible support they give to NHS Tayside. They give freely and willingly of their time, all with a personal story of why they volunteer. For healthcare volunteering ‘What’s Next? Most certainly volunteering roles will be adapted and changed to meet healthcare post Covid, how this will be shaped is work in progress. One thing is certain Volunteer Managers are grateful to each and every volunteer and moving forward that also will not change.