LAST week was Volunteers Week and our hospital is one place that attracts many volunteers – many of whom got together for a special thank you tea party.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital and is supported by 500 volunteers at all three sites plus the Countess of Brecknock Hospice in Andover.

Chief executive Mary Edwards said: “We are extremely grateful to all of our volunteers for the difference they make to patients, and to the partner organisations such as Royal Voluntary Service, the League of Friends, the British Red Cross and Hospital Radio, whose volunteers also provide regular support.

“These tea parties are a small way of saying thank you.”

Adam Lamb has been volunteering in the outpatients department at Andover War Memorial Hospital for six months.

He started volunteering because he needed experience, which would help him get into university and make a start on his future career as a paramedic.

His role includes meeting and greeting patients, helping them find their way and making them feel welcome and reassured as they attend the hospital.

Adam said: “Every week I get a sense of achievement from my role.

“I’m proud to be a young person taking an active role within my community.

“I’ve gained really valuable experience in not only working within a hospital but working with people.”

Alan Jones and Les Levine volunteer at a drop-in hearing aid clinic within outpatients.

Both retired they wanted to be able to be involved in their local hospital and be able to give something back to their community.

Alan and Les meet patients when they arrive, carry out basic checks on hearing aids, change batteries and t a k e patients to see the audiologists.

Some former patients volunteer to assist the Foundation Trust’s therapists and nurses with cardiac rehabilitation exercise sessions. The presence of people who have been on a similar journey provides reassurance and confidence to patients who have had heart problems or surgery.

Cardiac rehabilitation is another example of where volunteering has helped someone gain relevant experience for a career – S a m a n t h a Meredith was qualified in sports science before she began volunteering in 2011, but has since gained her Cardiac Rehab Exercise Instructor qualification and is now employed by Hampshire Hospitals as a part time exercise instructor.

Anyone interested in Andover hospital volunteering should call 01264 835279.