August 13, 2020

Volunteers working together

Northern Health has over 300 dedicated volunteers, who work across our site to help us provide support and care to our patients. Unfortunately, during the current pandemic, our volunteers cannot be onsite. Although we miss them terribly, we are looking at innovative ways to keep in touch, and for them to know that all our staff and volunteers are in this together.

One of these is a daily newsletter. Last week the Volunteer Services Team, sent out their 100th newsletter, that provides information, humour, (called ‘Vollie Jollies’) and inspiration that keeps the volunteers connected with each other.

Henni Wade, Manager of Volunteer Services says “Although our volunteers are currently unable to attend their roles due to COVID-19, the Volunteer Services Team has been working hard on helping our volunteers stay well at home.”

“Our newsletters provide a platform to share what the volunteers have been doing from the safety of their homes, “she adds.

“The volunteers have told us that the daily newsletter is something they look forward to and as the ‘unknown’ increases their anxiety, having daily communication helps to relieve this anxiety.  They also enjoy hearing and seeing photos of what other volunteers are doing,” says Henni.

The daily newsletter also includes wellbeing tips to help volunteers keep their minds and bodies healthy and cooking and craft ideas.

“We encourage the volunteers to be guest editors and to send through content for the newsletters. We also provide suggestions for encouraging volunteers to monitor their own health and suggested resources for them to seek further help if they are feeling isolated and depressed,” she says.

Henni points out, “The team is aware that not everyone has a computer or smart-phone to stay in touch so have been making targeted calls to those volunteers whom we identify as being socially isolated.  We have definitely felt that some of those calls have been a life-line for a few of the volunteers.”

Mandy Davis one of our long standing volunteers at Northern Hospital, says she is bored but doing the right thing and staying mostly at home except to go out once every two weeks to do her shopping. She says she is thrilled to get the newsletter. “ I felt I’m still part of the volunteers and it has been so good to be kept up to date on everything that has been happening and how hard every one is working there. I’m so proud of everyone and just to know how everyone is doing, has been really good.”

As Henni says. “We are definitely in this together!”

Featured picture shows our volunteers in pre-COVID times.