The valuable contribution made to NHS services by two teams of Royal Free Charity volunteers has been recognised in a national community awards scheme.

The Royal Free Hospital school and Barnet Hospital summer placement team have been shortlisted in the 2018 Helpforce Champions Awards. 

At the Royal Free Hospital school, volunteers help by assisting in the day school and on the wards with young patients.  Among the team who generously give their time are teaching assistants and others who bring their therapy dogs to visit students during lessons and break times. 

Alex Yates, head teacher of the school, said: “Volunteers add variety and new skills to the school experience for our students. Their contribution also allows teaching staff to give additional time to support more young people with medical or mental health needs.”

The Royal Free Hospital school has been shortlisted in the category ‘Partnership working in volunteering.’

The Barnet Hospital summer placement team spent four weeks supporting patients and staff during July and August this year. They have been shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding team’ award.

Brad De Abreu, young volunteer programme coordinator, explained: “This group of 12 dedicated young volunteers made a fantastic effort in numerous ways, including providing patients waiting in A & E with refreshments and company, helping confused and distressed patients find their way around the hospital, completing surveys in outpatient areas to get valuable feedback from patients and involving people living with dementia with games and activities. 

“They also raised £530, from a bag packing day at a local Tesco and bucket collections, which was put towards equipment for the intensive care unit.” 

The Helpforce Champions event in central London on Thursday 8 November will celebrate the variety of work and support provided by volunteers across the country to benefit patients, staff, and communities.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder and chair of Helpforce, said: “We have been humbled to see so many examples of inspiring volunteering from across the country. 

“We know the benefits that well-managed volunteers bring, with substantial improvements in patient care and positive feedback from NHS staff.”