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Newark sisters recognised during National Volunteers’ Week for their volunteering work at Newark Hospital run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Three sisters who dedicated their free time to supporting patients at a hospital highlight the benefits of volunteering.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating its 380 volunteers as part of National Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 3 to 9.

Volunteers’ Week which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, helps recognise the contribution volunteers make to local communities.

Val, Christine, and Lorraine who all volunteer at Newark Hospital.
Val, Christine, and Lorraine who all volunteer at Newark Hospital.

Sisters Lorraine Shereston, Christine Henderson, and Val Grove, all born and raised in Newark, volunteer at Newark Hospital.

After working in the NHS for 33 years at Newark Hospital, Val decided to volunteer at the Trust.

It encouraged her sisters to do the same after both retiring, Christine from her role in working with young people with disabilities, and Lorraine from her role as a nurse working with patients who have learning disabilities.

Val said: “Newark Hospital has always felt like home so becoming a volunteer was like coming back home and seeing everyone again.

“I wanted to give back to the place that has given so much to me. I didn’t know what to do with myself when I retired. I would definitely recommend it. It’s been a lifeline for me.”

There are 35 different volunteer roles across a range of services at the Trust’s three hospitals – King’s Mill, Newark, and Mansfield Community.

These include wayfinding, assisting in wards and clinics, providing support at mealtimes, and working in the busy volunteer refreshment areas.

Christine began volunteering six years ago after she retired, and her sister said to give it a go. She joined her sister Val working in the café.

Christine said: “It’s great, you feel like you’re helping. Sometimes patients come in and they can be quite worried and stressed about their appointment and just want to talk.

“It’s nice being that person that they chat to and putting a smile on someone’s face. It’s great to meet new people. I would absolutely recommend it.

“People who I used to work with have now started doing it too.”

Lorraine started volunteering at the start of 2021 after retiring from her role as a staff nurse and now works as a mealtime volunteer on the Sconce and Castle wards at Newark Hospital.

She also works on the front desk, greeting patients and helping them find their way.

Lorraine said: “I started volunteering as I had recently retired and needed something to occupy my time and I wanted to give something back to the community.

“It’s really nice and I enjoy doing it. I get a lot from it and hopefully, I give something in the process.

“People are often a bit anxious so I always walk with them to where they need to be and try to help them keep calm.

“It’s only a small thing but I hope it helps people and making sure they get to where they need to be means they have one less thing to worry about.

“I also really like chatting to patients and helping them to eat their meals. When you retire everything stops but this gives you a purpose to get up. It’s uplifting."

To mark the week, volunteers at the Trust’s three sites were given cakes provided by the volunteers from Academy Transformation Trust Further Education College arranged by principal Liz Barrett, who is also the lead governor at Sherwood Forest Hospitals.

They also received a keyring funded by a donation and patients and colleagues left messages of thanks for the volunteers at appreciation stations around the Trust.

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