This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we are taking a look at the incredible contribution made by the Royal Free Charity volunteers at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
Margaret Voyce, 67, from Dollis Hill, has been volunteering at the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead, since 2015 and spends every Monday helping out on the wards.
She decided to become a volunteer because she had been a patient at the hospital for five years, receiving treatment for endometrial cancer. Margaret says her connection to the Royal Free was also strengthened as her mother was cared for at the hospital during her final days last year.
Margaret said: “When my time here as a patient ended I didn’t want to just say goodbye and walk away from the hospital. I wanted to give something back. I enjoy being part of the volunteering team here and I’m proud to wear the purple shirt.”
Margaret wheels a shopping trolley around the wards so that patients can buy newspapers, magazines or snacks. She also helps serve lunch and takes the time to make patients cups of tea and stop for a chat.
She says: “I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering that they should give it a go. It will change your life and it will improve your life. I always feel better at the end of my day here then at the beginning – I get a lot of pleasure out of helping others. I know that not everyone has money to buy things so I bring in a bag of free Metro newspapers so people have got something to read if they want.”
Margaret used to have a desk job in the newsgathering department of the BBC before retiring but says she enjoys the opportunity that volunteering at the Royal Free gives her to stretch her legs.
“I might need to go to the chiropodist more often but I think I’m healthier because of all the walking around I do! I’ve met good friends through my volunteering and it’s been a good opportunity to have a go at something completely different.”
Margaret also volunteers at University College Hospital for a half day on Wednesdays and Fridays. “I tell both my teams that I love them exactly the same,” says a diplomatic Margaret.
Volunteering at the Royal Free London is coordinated by the Royal Free Charity. For more information about volunteering at the Royal Free London visit https://www.royalfreecharity.org/get-involved/volunteering
About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCL Partners.
In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.
For further information, visit www.royalfree.nhs.uk
About the Royal Free Charity
The Royal Free Charity exists to help patients, staff and visitors of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. We cover all sites that fall within the remit of the hospital trust; namely the Royal Free London, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital.
We annually invest over £15m into the hospitals we support through providing services ourselves, supporting research and new facilities and investing in helping patients and staff. We also provide over 600 volunteers to help everyone who visits and uses the hospitals.
For further information, visit https://www.royalfreecharity.org/