Lucille is volunteering at the Royal Free Hospital:
“Two years ago, I left my teaching job and wanted to try something different. I learnt about the opportunities here at the hospital, and I started out doing things like stuffing envelopes, and helping the patients who can’t get down the stairs to the shop. I enjoyed this very much – getting to know the patients and building a rapport with those that had been there a long time.
An opportunity then came up to work in the complementary therapy clinic, which offers massage and reflexology to patients on the ward as well as those who have had treatments in the past like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They needed someone to answer the phone, book appointments, greet patients when they come in. Sometimes they can be quite upset, so it helps to have someone who can offer them a cup of tea and a chat. I’ve been doing that for 18 months now, two mornings a week.
Volunteering has actually led me to a new career! I was interested in massage myself, and the team let me try it for a day and I really liked it, so now I am studying for the Therapy Massage diploma at the London College of Massage. When I’ve finished, I’ll work here as volunteer massage therapist.
Starting volunteering has not been daunting at all. I had an induction where I got to know everyone and talked through what I wanted to do, so they could give me the volunteering role that suited me best. There’s something for everybody in the hospital, whether it’s in the office, the clinics, working with children…they will always try to find what’s right for you. I’d say go along and have a chat, talk it through with other volunteers. It’s very rewarding.”