The Friends of St. Cross and UHCW NHS Trust are launching a joint appeal for volunteers to visit and befriend patients in the Hospital of St. Cross over the festive season.

Patients at the hospital, which is managed by UHCW, often enjoy having a conversation with someone other than a health service professional. Volunteers will be provided with guidance on 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 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 in 2017 by the Friends of St. Cross and we are delighted it is being repeated this year.”

Kristine Davies, Head of Voluntary Services for UHCW NHS Trust, said: “Patients enjoy playing games such as dominoes or scrabble, or even using the art cart which is available.

“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 patients all year round.

“Christmas can be an especially lonely time, so we are really pleased to team up with the Friends of St. Cross again to reach out into the community for more volunteers over the festive season.”

Special arrangements are in place so people won’t have to be a registered volunteer with the Friends of St. Cross or the Trust.

Befrienders will need to state which days they are available during normal visiting hours of 2pm to 4pm or between 6.30pm and 8pm from December 21 to January 1 inclusive.

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, added: “Last year we had a great response, with 65 people volunteering and many coming to visit patients on two or more occasions. This year we would like to do even better!

“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 lovely hospital.”

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