We asked Manka, a student volunteer on the Ward, to share her story about why she got involved with volunteering at St Wilfrid’s…
Hi Manka, can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to volunteer at St Wilfrid’s?
I’m Manka, and I’m 16, in the sixth form doing my A Levels. I’m doing Maths, Biology and Chemistry, and I’m hoping to go into a career in medicine or biochemistry but I haven’t decided yet.
I decided to volunteer at St Wilfrid’s because I’ve always known of the Hospice as I live locally, and I thought it would be interesting.
I thought when I went into sixth form that I wanted to balance out my studies. I chose the Hospice as it related more to what I want to do in the future. Seeing end of life care gives me a better insight into healthcare, and it helps me to be more respectful and sensitive. A lot of patients here aren’t as old as you might expect them to be.
Can you tell us a bit more about what you do when you are volunteering?
I’m a volunteer on the Ward at the Hospice. I did my training in September, which involved shadowing another volunteer and learning what to do until I felt confident, they just showed me everything and they were all really nice, and now I volunteer every other week and some weekends.
I make sure the kitchen for the families and patients use is tidy, make sure that patients have fresh water in their rooms, I bring round the lunches and cakes, or make relatives a hot beverage. I let the nurses know if the patients have asked for something that I can’t do.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
I like talking to patients and their families the most. The relatives are always so friendly. I always enjoy coming here, there’s a relaxing atmosphere and it’s calmer than I expected.
I’ve learnt some good skills like serving people, communicating with nurses and having sensitivity in talking to people.
Does volunteering fit in with your studies?
Yes, I can choose my shifts from a weekly rota so it’s really convenient. I do every other week and some weekend shifts too. They are four hour shifts so it’s easy for me to fit them in alongside my studies. It’s not stressful at all because I just look at my calendar and when I can fit it in.
What three words would you use to describe St Wilfrid’s?
Hmm, I’d say calm, friendly and welcoming.
What would you say to someone else who was considering volunteering?
I would say I love it. It’s incredibly rewarding to make a patient or relative feel better, which in turn makes me feel better. I also like that it is part of my life now, since it helps me to put my everyday problems into perspective.
A lot of people who talk to me about my volunteering ask ‘is it not depressing?’ but it isn’t at all. The relatives are amazing to talk to. Some of my friends are considering volunteering too.