Volunteers' Week spotlight: Natalie

01 June 2019

Volunteers' Week spotlight: Natalie
For Volunteers’ Week 2019 we’re introducing a series of blogs to shine the spotlight on our dedicated community of volunteers. In the first, Hospital Host Natalie writes about her experiences volunteering at the Western Eye Hospital over the last nine months.
Why do you volunteer with Imperial Health Charity?

I started to volunteer for the charity as I wanted to give back to my local community, volunteering at my local hospital seemed like a perfect fit.  Being a Hospital Host at Western Eye Hospital is such a rewarding experience as I get to interact with so many different people.  

What benefits do you get from volunteering?

I have learned so much from volunteering and I can transfer the skills that I have learned volunteering into my everyday life. I enjoy volunteering as I get to meet lots of people within the hospital and it so nice to chat with them and to keep them company when they are waiting for their appointments.

Since starting as a volunteer, I have made a number of friends through the volunteering thank you events, and additional training sessions offered by the charity. These sessions are a great opportunity for me gain new skills that enhance the way in which I volunteer. Recently I attended a Dementia Friends session, facilitated by the volunteering department, and it has really helped me when communicating with different visitors at the Western Eye Hospital.

What impact has volunteering had on your life?

Since starting as a Hospital Host I have gained and developed lots of different skills. I am really proud of myself and how I have grown in confidence after only volunteering for a short space of time. Some of the skills that I have gained through volunteering at the Western Eye Hospital have helped me in my other volunteering roles and in my job. 

Volunteering with Imperial Health Charity has restored my faith in the people of London, the staff and the patients are so thankful for the support that I give to them when I volunteer. I wear my purple uniform with pride and I am proud to call myself a volunteer at the Western Eye Hospital. 

Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about volunteering?

On my first shift I was really scared about volunteering and speaking to different patients, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. I spoke to Mary a nurse in the outpatient department, she gave me lots of advice and support in my role. After speaking to her I have a lot more confidence, she gave me lots of hints and tips about speaking to patients. Three that stood out were; smile, be yourself and have an open mind. These tips have been really useful to me as a volunteer especially when you are in different area.

I am very proud of how I have developed and changed since starting volunteering and I am proud to be part of the volunteering family at Imperial Health Charity. The staff at the charity are very supportive, friendly, they help me out when they can. I would like to thank my volunteering supervisor Kwasi for all his support since I started my role and my volunteering manager Matt who is always there to support me when required.

To find out more about the charity's volunteering programme, click here.