Radio Lollipop launches volunteer recruitment drive

Radio Lollipop logoA charity which helps cheer up poorly youngsters at Southampton Children’s Hospital urgently needs more volunteers.

Radio Lollipop Southampton has launched a recruitment drive as it prepares to celebrate its 25th birthday this year.

New faces are needed to help entertain young patients on the children’s wards as well as to fill three crucial management roles – all of them voluntary.

Since its launch in 1994, the charity has supported thousands of sick children, providing music and play at a time when many youngsters can feel vulnerable and frightened.

The volunteer-run radio station, which operates from a small studio at Southampton General Hospital, provides 24/7 entertainment, as well as broadcasting live to the children’s wards three nights a week.

Based on the healing power of play, the team also visits the children on the wards, equipped with puzzles, word searches, colouring competitions and crafts.

The visits can make a huge difference to young patients, adding a touch of normality to their hospital stay.

At the moment, Radio Lollipop Southampton has 12 volunteers on its books, ranging from students to retired people.

But more are needed to ensure all three broadcast evenings – Monday, Tuesday and Thursday – are covered and continue to go from strength to strength. Ideally, the charity would like around 20.

Also needed urgently are a chairperson, secretary and treasurer to join the existing management team and help drive the Southampton branch forwards.

It is an exciting time to get involved as the charity embarks on a £50,000+ fundraising campaign to transform its Southampton studio and play area.

The current Radio Lollipop studio is tucked away near the hospital restaurant – but is so low-key that many patients, visitors and staff walk past without a second glance.

Eye-catching design plans have been unveiled to open up the studio with a new glass frontage – showing off a bright, modern interior which should be far more inviting for everyone.

Chris Smith, Radio Lollipop Southampton chair, who is about to step down due to a relocation, said: “It has been a real pleasure to give my time to such a rewarding experience, playing with children who are unwell.

“When I was working in a very stressful job, the volunteering experience on the wards put everything in perspective as many of the children had life-threatening illnesses.

“Now that I have retired, I feel valued as a volunteer, being able to bring some cheerfulness and distraction to children who are suffering.”

Potential ward-visiting volunteers need to be at least 18 and must clear the necessary checks associated with working with children.

Training will be provided and people must commit to at least two hours in the evening per week.

Volunteers for the management roles must also be at least 18 and be able to commit to around 50 hours per year.

Management roles currently vacant are:

  • Chairperson – some leadership experience needed, with tasks including producing reports, chairing meetings and developing links with the local community and the hospital trust
  • Secretary – duties include arranging meetings and recording of minutes and supporting the chairperson/trustee and committee at the annual general meeting
  • Treasurer – banking and recording of money received or spent, maintaining the station budget, keeping a register of assets, producing quarterly reports for the chairperson and trustee and providing a report for the annual general meeting.

Anyone interested in getting involved with Radio Lollipop Southampton should contact the voluntary services team at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust on 023 8120 4688.

Posted on Friday 25 January 2019