And the Volunteer of the Year Oscar goes to...
As our Young People Helping in Hospitals programme draws to a close, we take time out to say thank you to the hundreds of young people who are giving their time, enthusiasm and dedication in volunteering at their local hospital.
Here we celebrate the work of Matthew, a young volunteer at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and one of the sites supported on the Nesta Young People Helping in Hospitals project, funded by the Department of Health.
Recently, young volunteer Matthew Yeoh, 16 years old, was voted joint-winner of the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust’s annual staff awards. Out of 700 volunteers across the Trust (incorporating three hospitals), the panel shortlisted 14 individuals amongst those nominated for the awards – Matthew was voted as joint winner by a panel of directors and executives at the Trust.
More than 250 members of staff attended the event, which was made possible by the Royal Free Charity, and 20 awards were handed to staff who had made a significant contribution to patient care in 2015.
A range of staff from across the trust attended the event, including doctors, nurses, porters, volunteers and support staff.
Reflecting on the achievements of the Trust more widely from the past year, Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director Caroline Clarke said: “I am most proud of the presence of 16 – 18 year olds volunteering around the hospital.”
David Sloman, the Chief Executive of the Royal Free London, said: “Tonight is about recognising your remarkable achievements throughout the past year and the excellent work that has been done to improve the lives of our patients.”
Matthew, who lives locally to the hospital, has volunteered at the Royal Free since July 2015, as a SatNav Guide, Lunch and Dinner Friend, and in a ward help capacity. Over the summer Matthew volunteered many hours as a SatNav Guide, welcoming patients and visitors at the main entrance, guiding and escorting them to their destinations. He currently volunteers on the medical admissions ward on a Friday evening, fitting in particularly well as part of the dedicated team – so much so that he chose to stay on volunteering beyond his original placement. He was welcomed back with a big hug and smile from the ward’s housekeeper, Kate, who has consistently given lively feedback on Matthew’s involvement and support to both the team and to patients.
Royal Free London state that: "Matthew’s volunteering is a testament to himself, who came in for interview at only 15 years old. Matthew then began his volunteer placement when he reached the age of 16. In the 6 months we have known Matthew he has grown in confidence, maturity, and insight. This volunteer is an asset to the hospital and to the health service, and his societal participation through his contributions at the Free greatly reveal the future leader in healthcare within him."