1st June 2023

Here at Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity (BWHC), we love our volunteers who give the gift of time to help our patients. So this Volunteers Week we're saying a big thank you for all the great things they do! Here's just some of our amazing volunteers talking about why they volunteer for BWHC.

And if that inspires you to get involved, you can find out more about our volunteering opportunities.

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers volunteers at Bristol & Weston Hospitals CharityI worked for a local charity for several years before retiring, and was still in contact with ex-colleagues who had moved on to other charities. I’ve lived in Bristol all my adult life, and during this time several friends and members of my family have received care from one or more of the hospitals within the trust. Giving a little bit of my time to the BWHC team to enable them to be more productive with their fundraising seemed the perfect opportunity to say thank you.

Having seen the benefit of volunteers from the inside, I love being able to take on those time consuming tasks that enable the team to maximise their fundraising. As well as the more routine tasks such as envelope stuffing, stock taking, updating the database and manning merchandise stands, I have also tried my hand at transcribing, research projects and compiling surveys. The team are so lovely and welcoming, and have been incredibly supportive during a recent difficult family illness.

Since volunteering I have learnt so much about the huge role that BWHC plays in supporting our hospitals, that there are so many different opportunities to suit all skill sets, and that time is sometimes the most valuable gift that can be given.

Mary Gurdin

Mary volunteers for Bristol & Weston Hospitals CharityI heard about BWHC through its branding, a website named “Voscur”, and from another department in the hospital I privately work with. I decided to volunteer from BWHC because I love nothing more than helping, socialising, and giving back to a charity that has personally benefited me on my journey. I really enjoy volunteering for BWHC because I know that my free time is being used wisely and truly cherished, but I also just love knowing that I may make an individual’s day a little brighter. You never know how someone is feeling or what they may have experienced when they come into the hub shop, for example.

If you are considering volunteering for BWHC, my best advice would be do not hesitate: your time is truly valued and appreciated, you will gain a variety of transferable skills, you will be making a huge difference for the hospital and those in need, and everyone who works in the staff and voluntary team are incredibly friendly.

Ray Dean

The NHS has always been important to me. I have many friends and relatives who are doctors or nurses, and I was married to a nurse for 42 years. It all started for me a very long time ago, before I was married. I have fond memories of socializing with groups of trainee doctors and nurses.

Ray volunteers for Bristol & Weston Hospitals CharityBristol hospitals have been particularly important to me. My daughter was born in Bristol Maternity Hospital, the Children's Hospital has treated children of friends as well as my own grandson, and I have recently attended Bristol Eye Hospital. Above all else my wife spent most of the last year of her life in the Oncology and Haematology Centre.

During that year I spent over 100 days as a visitor to BHOC and I met many NHS staff, aa well as patients and visitors. I marvelled at the skill, care and dedication of the doctors and nurses, and I became aware of the needs of patients and their visitors.  It meant a lot to see how well my wife was looked after, and the concern shown to me. I resolved to give something back when I was able.

During my many hours visiting I became aware of the remarkable achievements of the BWHC and their ambitious campaigns.  I decided to volunteer with the charity when the time was right.

So last year I applied l to be a volunteer. Luckily for me, BWHC was looking for someone to be a Hospital Liaison Volunteer, which is a role that makes good use of my experience and skill sets.

I was happy to commit to a half a day every Thursday and I spend my time visiting wards in the various hospitals, talking to staff, leaving leaflets and posters, and generally promoting the charity.

Firstly I love the enthusiasm of the employees of the charity. They have been extremely kind to me and make it a real pleasure to come in on Thursday mornings. It really is a happy place.

I was initially apprehensive when visiting wards thinking I might be getting in the way of busy nurses and doctors. Instead I have been pleasantly surprised by the lovely welcome I have received. I particularly enjoy going to staff rooms and chatting to doctors and nurses.  I do wonder though why there is so much laughter when I mention sky diving or wing walking!

It has also been nice to meet other volunteers, a chance to share experiences. Overall volunteering with BWHC has been everything I hoped for and much more. The charity is doing an amazing job in funding projects which are improving the health and happiness of patients, and the wellbeing of staff, in Bristol and Weston's hospitals.

If you want to be part of a great team doing a very important job, then the charity could be perfect for you.

Pat Hollis

Pat volunteers for Bristol & Weston Hospitals CharityI first heard about the charity when I was an inpatient at the BRI and wandered the corridors (particularly the shopping area) in an effort to get some post-op exercise! I then retired after the covid pandemic and wanted to use my time for a worthwhile cause. I chose to volunteer for BWHC as I am very grateful to the hospitals for the care they have given me and continue to offer.

I volunteer one afternoon a week in the fundraising hub. We sell donated second hand books and new children's knitwear, a good selection of cards and other adhoc donated gifts. I enjoy meeting a variety of people including outpatients, visitors and current patients. 

If you can commit to a few hours per week, the charity benefits greatly and there is always flexibility if you have personal commitments.

Find out more about our volunteering opportunities