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2nd Jun 2021
Volunteers from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.
Alder Hey volunteers perform a huge range of vital activities in the Trust including, welcoming visitors, directing patients to clinics, supporting ward teams in the hospital and Trust, enhancing patient experience and much more. They are often the first people families, children and young people see and the ‘smiling face’ of Alder Hey, always ready to help with an open smile, helping hand and comforting shoulder.
During the pandemic, the volunteers at Alder Hey have had to adapt their role, helping staff and visitors keep safe. Although not able to help on ICU directly they provided vital support to colleagues there by delivering staff meals and replenishing PPE stock to ensure staff were kept safe from Covid-19.
They also managed the entrances to the hospital by handing out face coverings to visitors and reminding them to gel their hands before entry as well as helping apply new visiting restrictions. Volunteers were also a vital support to Ronald MacDonald House which offers emergency accommodation to families when they most need it.
Louise Shepherd, Chief Executive at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Our volunteers have made a significant and invaluable contribution to Alder Hey over a number of years, but especially over the last year during the pandemic which has been incredibly challenging for all.
“Everyone at Alder Hey benefits from the presence and dedication of our incredible volunteers. That includes more than 330,000 patients and families each year, our 4,000 staff and each visitor and guest to Alder Hey, so we are thrilled and delighted that their work has been deservedly recognised with the Queen’s Award.”
Volunteers at Alder Hey take an active role in supporting ward-based teams, including play specialists, music therapists and ward chefs. They also run activity clubs for patients, gather vital feedback to improve services, giving their time for free.
There are over 300 volunteers who span the full range of their community, from school age (16+) to retirees and every age in between. They hail from a diverse mix of backgrounds, each bringing their own experiences and interests greatly contributing to Alder Hey’s quality of service.
A small selection of volunteer roles includes hospital guides, navigators, baby cuddling, play support, bedside buddies, smoke patrol, ACE club (weekend/evening entertainment), pet therapy and administrative support. They also support Alder Hey’s Emergency Department with a designated “Winter pressure programme”.
Alder Hey is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
Representatives of Alder Hey will receive the award crystal and certificate from Her Majesty’ Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside (Mr Mark Blundell) of Merseyside later this summer. Furthermore volunteers from Alder Hey will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Alder Hey Children's Charity