Could you spare a couple of hours to visit and cheer up someone at the Hospital of St Cross who will not be well enough to be discharged home before Christmas?

Following last year’s successful Festive Befriending initiative the Friends of St Cross and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) are launching a joint appeal for volunteers to visit and befriend patients in the Hospital of St Cross over the Festive Season this year.

Patients at the hospital, which is managed by UHCW, will be informed about the initiative as we know they often enjoy having a conversation with someone other than a health service professional. Volunteers will be provided with guidance which includes ways to open up conversations which can be rewarding for both the patients and befrienders.

Judith Lewis, Modern Matron at the Hospital of St Cross, said “Unfortunately we will have many patients at St Cross who will not be well enough to be discharged home before Christmas.  They may also not have friends or relatives nearby who can visit them.  This is a great initiative which was first launched last year by the Friends of St Cross and gave people so much-needed company that we are delighted the Friends have offered to repeat it this year.”

Kristine Davies, Head of Voluntary Services for UHCW NHS Trust, said “Patients also enjoy playing games such as dominoes or scrabble, or even using the Artie art cart available to patients, which is part of a well-established Healing Arts programme to help improve the experience and environment for our patients.  Our activity co-ordinators work with ward staff and volunteers from the Friends of St Cross and the Good Times Project to keep patients occupied while they’re in hospital.  We have seen the benefits these initiatives bring to help patients all year round.  Christmas can be an especially lonely time, so it is great to team up with the Friends again to reach out into the community for more volunteers over the festive season.

We have special arrangements in place for this initiative so people won’t have to be a registered volunteer with the charity or the Trust, though of course that helps. We just need to know who you are and on which days you can be available during normal visiting hours of 2pm to 4pm or between 6:30pm and 8pm from the 22nd December 2018 to 1st January 2019 inclusive!! ”

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said “Last year we had a great response from the community and this year we would like to do even better. We are confident that, having taken on board many of the suggestions made by those who took part last year, this year’s event will be most enjoyable for all concerned.

We ask that anyone interested in cheering up patients during the Festive season register with us as soon as possible by coming to Poplar Place, the restaurant at St Cross, between 10am and 12noon on Saturday 24th November or Saturday 1st December 2018 to find out more. Please bring along some photo ID and proof of your address.

We look forward to welcoming people from across the community who would like to take up this opportunity to make a difference for patients in our great hospital.”

Photo: A patient from Coventry and a Friends Befriending Volunteer met recently in Mulberry Ward at the Hospital of St Cross.