As its volunteers’ week we would like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you to each and every one of our wonderful volunteers who give their time to help us and our patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital.
We are featuring a few of our volunteers to give an insight into what they do here and why they do it.
SCH therapy dogs
Our SCH therapy dog team consist of handlers Lyndsey, Karen, Liz and Hannah and their golden retrievers. Their visits cover all sorts of Animal Assisted Intervention from a general meet and greet to supporting children at the time of medical examination or procedures. They definitely bring smiles to the faces of our patients and their families and also the staff. We are very grateful for their services.
Having grown up in a Prep School both my dogs developed a gentleness and often demonstrated a real empathy with children who were upset. It seemed the right thing to try as an extension to their daily activity and we were rewarded with the children’s delight at having a dog visit as well as the sense of purpose it gave the dogs. Both mine really do thrive being part of this team
It’s a real privilege to be party of the therapy dog team. I get so much pleasure in visiting the children and seeing the enjoyment they get from interacting with Milo whom I love so much. Just like the rest of the therapy dog family, he has a wonderfully gentle nature and laps up all the attention he gets from patients and staff. It’s lovely to see the difference a dog makes on visiting a ward cheering up patients and giving them a cheery distraction from their regular routine.
The dogs are so great for me when I am having a bad day it is lovely to be able to share their amazing calming and fun nature with others. I love seeing the children and their families faces light up and relax when the dog enters the room.
I love volunteering with my dogs and experiencing the human-animal bond in healthcare. When I started in 2012 it was to give back to the hospital which saved the life of my youngest son in 2008. Since then it has developed into such a hobby I am really missing it at the moment. The dogs love their visits as much as I do and we will all be very glad to get back to 'work' once this difficult time is over.
Our volunteer-run radio station, Radio Lollipop, broadcasts to our children’s wards 24 hours a day, with live broadcasts on several nights of the week.
Children can take part in themed play sessions and quizzes with volunteers on the wards, request their favourite songs or just listen along. There are also opportunities to visit the studio to help with broadcasts, play with toys or use a computer.
Maddie Horst is one of our Radio Lollipop ward volunteers.
She says: “We visit the children’s wards on Monday and Wednesday evenings to play board games and do craft activities and music with the patients and their families. I do it because it’s really nice to give the children a break from hospital, and it’s fun as well”.
Hampshire Scouts in Hospitals
Hampshire Scouts come in to the hospital to spend time, play and create with the children. Here we feature three of their volunteers.
Maria joined the team at Southampton last year. She had never been involved in scouting before but saw the opportunity advertised by the hospitals volunteer office and having enjoyed working with children thought it would suit her.
Maria says her favourite activity is badge making as the young people get the chance to create their own long-lasting memento. The patients can also make keyrings, mirrors and magnets. One evening a parent commented that her child had always been upset by her leaving but that night was waving his mirror, saying “look mummy look”. It was the first time she had left him as a happy child for days. We all got a little emotional at that point.
Having been involved in scouting for over 30 years, as a Beaver leader, Cub leader then group exec and currently chairing district exec, Chris joined hospital scouts to re-connect with young people.
“I missed the contact with the young people and was only to happy to re-engage with them via Hospital Scouts. I enjoy doing the various activities, particularly ballista (catapult) making”.
Sara said: “when I agreed to manage the group at its inception back in 2015 I had no idea how amazing the next five years would be and how far we would expand.
I love spending time with young patients at Southampton. We are often humbled by the bravery of the children in the face of very difficult circumstances. If we are able to distract them from pain, worry or boredom for a little while then it is all worth while.
While we’ve been unable to visit we have put together around 100 activity packs for young patients and are working on more ways of reaching them for “virtual” scouting”.
Thank you to all of our volunteers. We very much appreciate everything you do for us and the joy you bring to the patients.
Posted on Friday 5 June 2020