Care Club is a scheme in our Trust where colleagues volunteer to work in clinical areas that are short staffed or need additional help and I have been a member for a couple of years. Like most of the hospitals within the NHS our Trust has been extremely busy and the increase in respiratory infections, and the sudden raise in Strep A cases meant that the paediatric ward was particularly stretched, and I was contacted to ask if I would mind lending a hand. So armed with my bright yellow volunteer polo shirt, which co-ordinates particularly well with the library décor, I offered my services. I only work a couple of hours a day I usually start just before 8.00am which is a busy time on the ward with shift change over. I am lucky in that the housekeeper is lovely and we work together as a kind of tag team. I normally give out breakfasts, clean ward areas and chat to patients and their carers which is probably the nicest part of volunteering. It has been great for raising awareness of the library as most clinical staff I talk to have no idea that our service exists. It is also gives a greater insight into the work of clinical colleagues and I am sure I am much fitter too as I never sit down and I am constantly on the go. I feel sad that my services are needed and wish that staff weren’t so stretched but for me the experience has been really rewarding and I am glad I can make a difference however small.

Helen Curtis
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust