As we celebrate National Volunteers Week 2018, meet Maureen Brown, who has been a volunteer at Barnet Hospital for the past 17 years.
Maureen started off as a chaplaincy volunteer at Barnet Hospital, then moved to the reception desk and is now a ‘Sat Nav’ guide helping patients and visitors find their way around the hospital.
Although Maureen used to live in Hampstead, for the past 20 years she's lived in Barnet and wanted to help give something back to her local hospital.
Maureen said: “The Royal Free Hospital saved my life. I was completely paralysed and spent five months on the high dependency unit. With the help of the amazing staff at the Royal Free trust I have done very well. Volunteering is my way of saying thank you.”
Maureen is a qualified accountant and worked in the computer industry helping companies to use accountancy software when it first became available. After being made redundant and being struck down by illness she lost a lot of confidence. By volunteering she was able to rebuild that confidence.
Maureen said: “When I was on the reception desk people couldn’t see my wheelchair, but once we were moved from behind the reception desk to the new ‘Sat Nav’ role I had to approach people and felt very shy. But I stuck at it and really came out of my shell.”
National Volunteers Week is also an opportunity for organisations like the Royal Free Charity to say thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who support patients, staff and families.
The Royal Free Charity has over 750 volunteers at the Royal Free Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and Barnet Hospital and at several satellite sites and at their four charity shops. The charity’s volunteers range in age from 16 years old to 94 and work tirelessly to make every patient’s experience the best that it can be. Volunteers engage in a range of activities from directing patients around the hospital, helping with mealtimes, chatting with patients, making tea and coffee, playing games with patients, gardening, nail painting, arts and crafts, running a book trolley service and much more.
For more information about volunteering with the Royal Free Charity go here.