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Posted on Jun 14 2018 by Bobbie Kelly

What volunteering means to me - Stuart's story...

The aim of our year-long #100ThousandHours volunteering campaign is a simple one.

Together with our partners Northampton Mind, Samaritans Northampton, The Lowdown and the Hope Centre, we aim to achieve a combined 100,000 hours of volunteering.

To do that, we need to inspire more people like Stuart Behagg, who is one of our dedicated volunteers. Stuart works in IT at St Andrew's Healthcare but volunteers on a weekly basis, helping to run football sessions and other activities. 

Here, he shares what volunteering means to him, and the benefits he feels from it...

Click here to learn more about #100ThousandHours and how to get involved

How long have you been volunteering for?

"I have been volunteering at St Andrew’s for just under three years."

What inspired you to volunteer?

"Working in IT, I don’t get a chance to see and interact with our patients in the day job, so don’t really get to see what St Andrew’s is all about. Volunteering gives me that chance."

What sort of things you do?

"On a weekly basis I help to run a football session, and also with ad hoc activities throughout the year, such as at the patient summer and Christmas parties."

What benefits does volunteering give you?

"With the football sessions I’m a firm believer in physical health contributing to better mental health. Being involved and playing football with the guys gives my mental health a boost as much as theirs.

"Mixing with a range of people from different backgrounds and with different thoughts and ideas also gives me a better understanding of people and the world we live in. It helps me to see things from other peoples' perspective, and makes me more thoughtful."

What do you feel are the benefits to the people you support?

"The football sessions bring a range of benefits. For a start the physical activity makes you feel good and helps to boost your mental wellbeing. As football is a team game, there is also a big emphasis on teamwork and respect, getting everyone to work together.

"I help to ensure that everyone gets involved, and this can help with a patient’s confidence if at first they are withdrawn. Talking with the patients, it sounds like for many that football is the thing they look forward to most all week."

What would you say to people who are considering getting involved?

"Just do it. Give it a try. Making someone’s day is probably the best gift you can give."

Volunteering at St Andrew's Healthcare

At St Andrew's Healthcare our volunteers go to incredible lengths to enrich the lives of our 800 patients.

Our volunteers give us their time, energy and expertise, supporting patient events and escorting our patients to activities sessions. They also commit to befriending - visiting people on the wards who do not have visitors – and spend time chatting and playing games.

We also have a team who bring their Pets as Therapy dogs to our hospitals, so the people in our care can spend time with their animals and experience the joy, comfort and companionship that friendly animals and wagging tails can bring.

If you are an individual, a business, a community group, or a team of friends and you would like to pledge your time to make a difference to the lives of people in need, all you have to do is sign up and donate some hours of volunteering with any of the campaign partners.

Click here to learn more about #100ThousandHours and how to get involved