During the pandemic Andy Byers has certainly done his share of volunteering, and so far has notched up 100 shifts for the Captain Tom Challenge.
He came out of his early retirement in 2020 to support the NHS and has split his time between working at Poole Hospital and for the community action network running the BIC vaccination centre.
Only counting the shifts he completed following Captain Tom’s birthday on 30 April, Andy has clocked up 325 hours of NHS volunteering over the summer.
Andy said: “I took early retirement to spend more time with my family so it’s a bit bonkers that I’ve spent so much time with the NHS, but I’m ex-military, and when Covid-19 hit I knew the community needed the support. My attitude is let’s all roll up our sleeves, knuckle down, move the community forward and hopefully next year we can get back to normal.”
At Poole Hospital Andy can be found at the North Entrance, ensuring patients and visitors are welcomed and can find the correct department with ease.
“It has been wonderful to volunteer at Poole, when I first came here it was easy to settle in because everyone was so nice, showing me the ropes. It’s been lovely to meet the people, and they all have stories to tell about why they volunteer,” he said.
Not content with his first 100 shifts, Andy’s next goal is to complete 100 shifts for Poole Hospital and 100 for the vaccination centre.
“I do believe that what you put in the pot one day you’re going to take out of the pot so I don’t mind giving the time while I can. Plus, University Hospitals Dorset replaced both my knees, so the least I can do is get them working and give back.”
Joy Heelan, voluntary services lead at Poole Hospital, said: “Andy has a great commitment to volunteering whether it is at Poole or with other local organisations. Like all of our volunteers he is always professional, reliable, hard working and kind.
“Since they were able to return in June 2020 our volunteers have been on hand to help with non-clinical practical tasks such as meeting patients, offering masks, wayfinding through the hospitals, topping up supplies and delivering parcels. But it is their care and empathy that really shines through and provides an even better experience for our patients.”
If you are interested in volunteering for UHD’s Think Big Outpatients project please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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