NO ONE should be alone at Christmas – that is the motivation behind an initiative for volunteers to visit and befriend patients in St Cross Hospital over the festive season.
Following last year’s successful Festive Befriending scheme, the Friends of St Cross charity and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) are launching another appeal for participants to help cheer up patients at the hospital.
Staff at the hospital say patients often enjoy having a conversation with someone other than a health service professional.
St Cross Modern Matron Judith Lewis 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 some much-needed company. 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.”
Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said there was a great response to the initiative last year – and would like to do even better this year.
He said: “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.”
Volunteers will be provided with guidance, including ways to open up conversations with patients.
Anyone interested in volunteering can email [email protected] to register, or attend a registration and information day at Poplar Place, the restaurant at St Cross, between 10am and 12noon on Saturday (December 1). Bring photo ID and proof of address.