Volunteer Voices October 2021

This is your news e-bulletin from Voluntary services which will help us to keep in touch with you, and show you all the amazing activities that our volunteers are doing here at KMPT. Here at KMPT, we are very proud to have an army of volunteers who allow us to provide additional support for our patients and their families.

Publication date:
05 July 2021
Date range:
October 2021 - ongoing

Volunteer Voices

Welcome to Volunteer Voices...

We're back and ready to start all of our Autumn activities with all of you in tow.

We hope you've had a fabulous summer, this last few weeks of September has at least given us some much needed sun. It's been busy for us as a team as we've been getting back into the swing of things and supporting as many of you as possible back into your volunteering positions. Speaking of which, we have some new opportunties available, which you can find out more about below...

Although there are of course social distancing rules in place and we ask that volunteers wear masks on site, we are very happy to be 'almost' back to normal as a service. We will be keeping a lot of the roles developed during the pandemic in place though, like IT buddys, as we know that not everyone is fortunate to be living as freely as others and we want to continue to serve the needs of the whole community.

If you didn't already know, nominations close today (Friday 1 October at midnight) for this year's KMPT Awards. Don't miss your chance to nominate a staff member, patient, student, carer or fellow volunteer for an award, as you only have a few hours left to get your nomination in! You can see the list of categories, full criteria and nomination form on our website.

Also, don't forget to keep in touch with by sending us your stories - we love hearing about your hidden talents, hobbies and creative outlets, so please email us anything exciting or interesting you've been up to so we can share far and wide.

Thank you for your continuing hard work and the support you give to KMPT - you are all brilliant. We are very lucky to have such an engaged and active group of volunteers.

Tomato and Lupin plants

You will remember that we gave out some tomato and lupin plants during Volunteer’s Week in June and asked you to grow and look after them as part of National Growing Week. Well, we have kindly been sent some updates on the plants in all their glory and are thrilled to see how much joy the plants have brought to many of you. Please share your plant pictures with us so we can continue to keep track.

News from Orchards Ward

Littlestone Lodge is an older adult male inpatient ward for people with a range of mental health conditions. People admitted to this ward require assessment and treatment to enable them to live in the community. The ward is currently based in Dartford while the ward based in Maidstone is being refurbished.

Occupational therapists (OTs) on the wards assess what support people will require following discharge from the ward, which could range from a 24-hour care environment to enablement support at home.

As a team, our OTs recognise the importance of regular activity as it can provide some meaning and routine, as well as supporting a service user's mood. Providing activity on the ward has been challenging during the pandemic due to the restrictions that have been in place, but the team has managed to adapt and use creative ways to engage with patients, including quizzes over video call and individual activity packs.

Our volunteer Gloria has been able to provide the opportunity for people to listen to live piano music in a safe way, even learning new requests and providing song lyrics, nothing is too much for her!

Everyone on the ward is looking forward to being back in Maidstone soon and would welcome any new volunteers to join them. If you're interested in supporting our OTs then please get in contact: kmpt.voluntaryservices@nhs.net

Volunteer with our Chaplaincy team

How to sum up volunteering with our Chaplaincy team in less than 200 words?

Well our Chaplaincy team volunteers do a huge amount on our wards, they are here;

  • for people of all faiths and of none
  • for pastoral, spiritual and religious care,
  • to give person-centred and person-led support
  • for staff as well - we're here to listen and provide support for healthcare workers
  • for patients in the community too through discussion groups and one-to-ones
  • for the acutely ill who need ward visits.

We are looking for volunteers who can help us to make a difference and use their individual skills to best support our patients and staff. We just ask that our volunteers are rooted in their faith or belief and are supported by their own faith-community.

Yes, COVID-19 stopped valuable volunteering for a while, but with the vaccination programme and the continuation of mask wearing, social distancing and risk-assessments, we can invite volunteers back onto our wards to really help make that difference.

Where we are, you could be also, so get in touch if you would like to explore Chaplaincy volunteering.

We're looking for some green-fingered volunteers

In July, our hospital radio volunteers Chris and Ryan made a rapturous return by holding a live outside broadcast in Webb’s Garden which we combined with an open afternoon in the garden. Song requests were played with a summer theme; and we were lucky with the weather! There was a raffle, refreshments, plant and produce sales and interviews with special guest, Jo Hand, KMPTs Security manager, and our very own Helen and Zoe from the Voluntary services team. Volunteer, Jonathan, hosted a pop quiz-off between Chris and Ryan which was also brilliant.

Prince Charles has recently thanked hospital radio volunteers and recognised the valuable contribution they make to patients, family and staff.

Prince Charles released this statement: "His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, has recorded a special programme to say thank you to members of hospital, health and wellbeing radio stations for their work in keeping communities connected and patients entertained during the Coronavirus pandemic. In the programme, The Prince of Wales highlights the work volunteers from HBA members have done over the last year, explaining that the role of hospital radio has been even more important during these current times, providing an invaluable service to patients, staff and families and reminisces on key life memories where music plays a significant role."

You can read the full BBC article here

The St Martin’s art group is back

We are really pleased to see the return of our voluntary art group who visit Fern Ward to provide a variety of art activities to inpatients. Judith, Abi and Jodie come along every Wednesday morning and prepare all the materials for the activity planned for that day. They then walk down to the ward and encourage patients to get involved in the various art projects.

Kirsty Newton and the Institute of Leadership and Management

This month, our north Kent Coordinator, Kirsty, hit a milestone when she completed and passed her Institute of Leadership and Management course in Volunteer Management.

Kirsty started the course at the beginning of 2020. It took a little longer to complete than she expected thanks to a combination of the pandemic and also being on maternity leave in mid-2020, but it was worth all the hard work!

Kirsty said: "I hit a few barriers in getting the course completed but now I have such a sense of achievement and am keen and excited to put all I have learnt into practice to give our volunteers and KMPT services the best experience possible."

Huge congratulations Kirsty!

Models required

It’s ok, panic over – we’re not looking for people to appear on a cat-walk. We’ve been looking at doing a model-making session with the Occupational therapists at the Trevor Gibbens Unit.

In these days of instant gratification and instant results, it can be relaxing and important to understand that sometimes taking time and thinking can be good for our mental health.

Stephen Tucker, Volutary services coordinator, was brought up making Airfix models (he even did the Hornby factory tour in Margate, and was once a member of the Airfix Club) and so was Bob StClair- Baker, at the Trevor Gibbens Unit. So they thought it would be great fun to run a model-making activity for patients.

To do this we need model kits. So if you have any un-made Airfix, Tamiya, Revell, or any other plastic injections kits that you could donate they’d be gratefully accepted. Whether they’re aircraft, cars, armoured vehicles, space, figures, or anything else, it doesn’t matter. The more variety the better. Old or new, it doesn’t matter, so long as they’re complete.

If you could pass them on to your Volunteer coordinator or contact Voluntary services direct and we’ll arrange collection.

Team KMPT raise money for the Alzheimer's Society

On Saturday 11 September, our very own Clare Streeter, Louise Blackwood and Zoe Young, took part in the Trek26 Stonehenge fundraising event to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

They walked 13 miles taking in the stunning views and countryside around Stonehenge. As well as seeing the superb Stonehenge itself, they also got to have a sneaky peak at Sting’s house, which was truly fabulous.

The weather was also on their side, although it actually got bit too hot at times they were thankful it didn’t rain! They also met lots of lovely people along the way, all walking together for the same worthy cause.

So far, they have raised £935 with more coming in and would love to reach £1000! How fantastic would that be?

Here’s their JustGiving page if anyone would like to help Team KMPT by donating, however big or small, as every little helps

Come dine with me - new role alert!

We have a new volunteering opportunity available helping our ward staff and facilities team.

The role entails;

  • taking part in ward community meetings to improve the communication around food choices
  • carrying out monthly surveys with service users
  • helping service users lay tables for lunch and dinner
  • carrying out food assessments e.g. is the temperature of the food up to an acceptable temperature to be served
  • assessing the quality of delivery and service
  • helping with feedback to the facility’s team

You will also get the opportunity to take part in a "Come Dine with Me" experience where you will have a meal with a service user (by invitation) and help with menu choices, and encourage conversation and activities.

If you're interested in finding out more about the role, please get in touch with the team.