#100ThousandHours: Liz’s volunteering story

Our volunteers give us their time, energy and expertise, and Liz Evans, Contracts Manager is no different. Here she shares what a difference it has made to her...

“I’ve been a volunteer befriender for just over four years, which has just flown by. I’ve been lucky enough to have made two good friends; one from our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and a lady from our Learning Disabilities IPU, both now discharged to community services.

I decided I’d like to become a volunteer after working a week’s shift on a CAMHS ward, which I did to gain a small insight and experience life on one of our wards. The fact that I found the time meaningful surprised me, and I found I wanted to spend more time simply helping and spending a little time with those patients who maybe don’t have regular visitors or visitors at all.

Initially with my first friend who I visited weekly we would play board games, create crossword puzzles and I’d help him to write letters home, but during the following two years we did as his levels improved. We played badminton, went on bike rides around the grounds and I became a fairly good Nintendo DS gaming partner.

With my friend from Spencer North, for the first six months we would meet in the family room and usually make something arty, like birthday cards for staff, or colour in some beautiful adult colouring books that I would bring with me.  Again, though, as time passed we agreed that I would visit on the afternoon when she went to Tompkins, and here we would have a drink together away from the ward and catch up on the week’s gossip.

I enjoyed my weekly sessions as I always received a smile as soon as I was spotted, and I know they both looked forward to my visits as I was always told off if I was late. 

If befriending is something you are interested in please just go for it; an hour of your time to break someone’s regular ward-based routine means so much to our patients.”