Publish date: 01 June 2020

From delivering hundreds of free meals to staff, to distributing important poster messages, to helping patient stay in touch with family and friends via iPads: thank you to our dedicated volunteers who have chosen to carry on working throughout the pandemic.

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Among them is new recruit Fiona Sutton (pictured above) who joined the Rapid Response team to help out where most needed for three days a week. She is among 60 volunteers who received a special ‘thank you’ certificate from UCLH chair Julia Neuberger.

Fiona said: “I saw the strain that the NHS generally was facing and decided to offer to volunteer at UCLH. It’s my local hospital and my dad has had treatment in the intensive care unit, my mum had her hip replacement here and my eldest daughter was born at UCLH 15 years ago – so it seemed the ideal choice! I really enjoyed feeling part of the volunteer team and trying to help out.”

Fiona, who normally runs an events company managing media events, has experience of working in palliative care and volunteering.

Many of our existing volunteers haven’t been able to come in or are at home shielding. Many of the roles they used to do were put on hold. During the pandemic, new volunteer roles have been developed in procurement and pharmacy.

Clive Pankhurst, the UCLH lead for volunteers, said: “Today is the start of Volunteers’ Week and it is a chance to shine the light on what our volunteers do and to say ‘thank you’. I am particularly grateful to all those who have chosen to keep coming in during the pandemic, and all the new people who have offered to help. Their help during these challenging times has been amazing and much appreciated!”

UCLH chair Julia Neuberger also had a special message for our volunteers.

She said: "I want to thank the amazing volunteers who have stuck with us, or even arrived for the first time, during this COVID-19 period.

"I've seen them everywhere I've been: from delivering the meals that have been provided so generously for staff, to stacking the many amazing gifts that have arrived and filling goody bags.

"There have also been the amazing volunteers in the respite centre at the Wellcome Trust, who are all Wellcome staff, who have given an extraordinary welcome to all our staff and have even provided bags of goodies and meals for those dressed in scrubs who can't go in!

"We'd normally give a party to thank all our volunteers, as we'd like to do for staff as well. But that's not to be for quite a while.

"So I'd love all of us at UCLH to say a huge thankyou to our volunteers who are working with us, and also to welcome back, when they can return, the hundreds of volunteers who are shielding or self isolating, and haven't been able to be with us for ten weeks.

"We've missed them, and they've missed us. But we are so fortunate in welcoming so many volunteers and they deserve our grateful thanks, as does the team of people organising where they can go and when. Thank you."