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Two shops are run on the Broomfield Hospital site by volunteers from the Friends.

The bright and eye-catching 'friends2shop' is located in the busy new atrium at the main entrance to the hospital and the other shop, 'friends1', is in an established location near the entrance to the South Wing.

Both shops give superb service with a smile, brightening up each day for customers. Volunteers with the Friends all believe in going the extra mile and there is many a tale of them giving help above and beyond the call of duty.

The goods on sale include sandwiches, newspapers and magazines, soft drinks, greeting cards and confectionery. Coffee, Tea and recently hot soup has also been added to the list, all at competitive prices.

Every morning at 7.45am you will find our early bird volunteers in shop one, loading up our two big blue trolley’s. They are preparing to take them on to the wards and many departments in the hospital so that all patients, as well as staff and visitors, have a chance to buy the items they need.

The distance around the whole hospital trolley round is about six miles, a very good way to keep fit!

 

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People of any age and from all walks of life can be volunteers with the Friends at Broomfield Hospital.

Current members include young people and pensioners and they all have one thing in common, the satisfaction they gain from making a contribution and helping others.

Some are motivated by the benefits they or a loved one have had from treatment within the NHS, others want to spend their spare time in a constructive and positive way which gives something back to the community and improves the experiences people have in hospital.

 

Special operating tables, an ultrasound machine for the gynaecology department, medical equipment for the childrens ward, monitors for the stroke ward and Christmas decorations are among the wide range of items which have been bought through funds donated by Friends at Broomfield Hospital

The Friends are dedicated to improving facilities for patients, visitors and staff at Broomfield Hospital and they make a sterling effort to ensure that they raise as much as they can each year to achieve their aim.

All the income from the shops and trolley service run at Broomfield Hospital by the Friends is channelled back in to the hospital, funding items requested by wards and departments.

Broomfield Hospital has had the benefit of a Friends group for the past 60 years and Allan Hodson, treasurer for Friends at Broomfield Hospital, says that over that time around 1 million pounds has been donated by the volunteers.

Allan, who can be seen on a regular basis wheeling the retail trolley around the wards said : "In the early days the donations were of course much less than they are today, but they still made a big difference."

 

A former banker, Allan became a volunteer with the Friends at Broomfield Hospital when he retired.

He said: "About six months after I retired I found I could not accept the lack of contact with the public. One day I was in the hospital shop and saw an invitation to join the Friends group. I decided to volunteer for the trolley rounds, as this would give me some exercise."

"My role as treasurer is to keep the books and pay all the administration bills, plus draw the cheques to purchase equipment for the hospital which has been agreed by the committee, to bank all donations and profit from the shops and trolley rounds plus investing the funds to obtain maximum interest without risk."

"I enjoy being a volunteer on the trolley round as it gives me a chance to help the patients to buy items they need, often at a time when no relatives or friends are available. By having a few words with the patients I can perhaps bring a little pleasure into their day."


 


The current Friends at Broomfield Hospital team of volunteers are organised by long-standing members Barbara Coupe and Jenny Gillingham, who manage the shops run by the Friends. They co-ordinate the rotas of volunteers, keeping the shops open six days a week and the trolley service rolling seven days a week.

 

Barbara has been a volunteer for 20 years and her involvement began when she heard that help was needed at weekends to run a trolley service in the foyer of Broomfield Hospital.

Jenny began volunteering with the Friends 14 years ago and four years ago she helped take on the responsibility for volunteers and running the shops.

Barbara and Jenny are familiar and friendly faces for patients, visitors and staff at the hospital and they have a tremendous rapport, relishing their working time together.

Having run a hairdressing business, combined with bringing up two children, Barbara has always led a busy life and enjoys continuing to be active through the Friends at Broomfield Hospital.

She is a great admirer and supporter of the NHS and feels it is an honour to give something back. Barbara enjoys the buzz of business and finds it very satisfying to make money for the Friends.

 

She helps out in the shops in a regular basis and in other ways through the services run by the Friends. She also helps with the all important tasks of banking, bill paying and book keeping for the shops.

Looking back to the earlier days of her volunteering Barbara said: "All those years ago the shop was a shed on the square, but the hospital eventually gave us a room in the entrance and we doubled the shop size."

Barbara has seen what has been achieved by the efforts made by the Friends group over the years and says: "We are so lucky to have such a terrific team of volunteers and it is good to know that the work of the Friends makes such a difference at the hospital."

"The work is rewarded by what it achieves and on top of this we really enjoy what we do."

For Jenny Gillingham, being a volunteer with the Friends at Broomfield Hospital runs in the family. Jennys mother has been a volunteer with the Friends for about 22 years, which is how Jenny came to join.

 

As she spent an increasing amount of her time volunteering Jenny found that she enjoyed it more and more, so her involvement grew over the years.

Jenny has had personal experience of extensive treatment on the NHS and wanted to give something back. She has been in an out of various hospitals for most of her life and feels that her voluntary work with the Friends is an ideal way of saying thank you for the help and care that she has received.

She finds it very gratifying to know that all the profits made from the services run by the Friends go directly back to Broomfield Hospital.

John Hughes, president of the Friends at Broomfield Hospital said: "Every penny of the profit we make is given to the hospital for the purchase of equipment requested by doctors and other medical staff. Our aim is to help provide the very best patient care possible and this is our priority when deciding just where the money goes."

 


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The trolley services run by Friends at Broomfield Hospital volunteers are invaluable for patients on the wards. Newspapers, toiletries, confectionery and other items are sold from the trolleys which are taken around the wards by volunteers every day of the week.

 

The Library trolley is also a welcome sight for patients who can choose books brought to them by Friends at Broomfield Hospital volunteers.

The volunteers visit wards and departments throughout the hospital and their friendly approach is appreciated as much as the chance to select a good book to help pass the time while in hospital.

The service runs twice a week and offers a wide selection of books for patients to choose from. Donations of books for the service are gratefully received by the hospital.

 

Roger and Marion Gardiner are two of the current library volunteers. Roger, who used to work for an insurance company, loves reading, so being able to help choose a suitable book for a patients reading taste is an ideal role for him.

Marion said: "A large part of taking the library trolley to the wards is a little light conversation with certain patients. This is no hardship for me, as I enjoy getting into conversations with people. Volunteering suits my nature and I am, very much a people person."

To volunteer for the Friends at Broomfield Hospital and for more information call 01245 445285 or visit our Join Us page