Volunteering changed my outlook on life 

02/06/2017 00:00 
To mark Volunteers’ Week, meet Martin Valls Garcia, just one member of the 400-strong army of volunteers that brighten UCLH’s patients’ days.

Martin has volunteered as a befriender at the haematology inpatient unit for two years – an experience that has changed his outlook on life.

It has also made a huge difference to patients – and led to him winning this year’s Volunteering award at the Celebrating Excellence Awards.

Martin, a medical student at UCL, said: “I have two favourite parts to volunteering: the first is the patients themselves.  They are all unique, honest, amazing people.  Talking to some is an eye-opening experience.

“Secondly, the support provided by the staff is amazing.  Volunteering has made me really value other people’s stories and how they see the world.”

Martin, who volunteers for about four hours a week, said that it meant “the world” to him that his award nomination came from a patient.

He added: “Volunteering is a rather unique experience that has changed my outlook on medicine and life.

“I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they want to learn other people’s stories and help others be less lonely.”

Find out how you can volunteer at UCLH here

From retired headmistresses to nightclub promoters, UCLH’s volunteers do everything from greet patients on arrival at the hospital, to their paint nails, make paper flowers and provide cheery conversation and a sympathetic ear.

Last month alone, they came in 457 times, giving 1428 hours and helping patients more than 10,000 times.

Clive Pankhurst, volunteers lead, said: “We love all our volunteers and are continually impressed by their dedication to making a difference to our patients.

“We will be celebrating their work at a Volunteers’ Week party next week and, of course, they are all invited!”

UCLH would also like to thanks its governors – carers, staff, patient and public – who also volunteer their time freely and with enthusiasm. Governors play an important role at UCLH and have a variety of responsibilities from helping to improve patient experience to approving the appointments of the Chairman and Chief Executive.

  • Find out about volunteering at UCLH here
  • Read more about Martin here



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