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Celebrating our volunteers

During Volunteers Week 2024, we’ve been celebrating the amazing volunteers.

The Trust has 248 active volunteers and together, they give an incredible 744 hours of their time each week to support our patients and staff.

Our volunteers comfort and support patients and their families, providing directions and information as well as pastoral and emotional support. Volunteers also support staff by acting as an extra pair of hands and freeing them up to prioritise clinical care. They provide support in over 25 roles across the Trust, including Macmillan, chaplaincy, end of life care and PAT (Pets as Therapy), as well as the Leagues of Friends at both hospitals.

Volunteers can also provide companionship for those patients needing additional support, including the people we care for on our frailty wards. Dementia Nurse Practitioner, Rudi Sison said: “Volunteers can play a significant role in supporting patients with cognitive impairments, including those diagnosed with dementia and delirium. They can engage patients in meaningful activities that can enrich the patient’s everyday experience of living with an illness.”

As part of Volunteers Week, we spoke to members of the team who shared their experiences of being a volunteer at the Trust, what it involves and the difference it has made to their lives.

Eddie Walker, Meet and Greet Volunteer

Eddie Walker

As a Meet and Greet Volunteer, my main duties are greeting patients and visitors, and helping them find their way around the hospital to attend their appointments. My role also includes refilling mask and hand gel dispensers by the hospital entrances and making sure there are enough wheelchairs available.

Before retiring in 2007, I worked for a computer company as a service engineer visiting banks and commercial companies in London, so I was used to meeting lots of different people.

I have been a volunteer for MTW for almost a year now, and absolutely love being part of the team.

I wish I had become a volunteer 10 years ago. It is very rewarding and people are so grateful for the time you spend with them.

Sue Simpson, SWAN Volunteer

Sue SimpsonAs a SWAN volunteer, I support patients who have reached the end of their life by providing bedside companionship, respite for family and friends when they need to leave the room, and emotional support for patients and their loved ones. I am also a voice for the dying patient if they are alone and need an advocate.

I spent three weeks in Maidstone Hospital ICU while my father was dying, and a few years later my mother was discharged from the hospital into my care when she asked to die at home. Both experiences influenced my decision to become a SWAN volunteer.

I was a bit nervous before my first ‘meet ‘n’ greet’ shift in November but now I love pointing patients in the right direction for their appointments, or chatting to them while the stress of parking their car slowly ebbs away. I’ve already learnt that volunteering isn’t a one-way street; life seems a little better if you can help someone.

The Maidstone SWANs are a new team – I wish a SWAN had been around when I was the exhausted loved one sitting by a bedside all those years ago.

David Little, Macmillan Cancer Support Volunteer

David LittleI retired just under three years ago, having worked as a construction underwriter for most of my career, and began volunteering. I joined the Macmillan Cancer Support team in the Oncology department at Maidstone Hospital six month ago.

Our duties as Macmillan volunteers include providing emotional support to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer or are going through cancer treatment, and their families. We also offer guidance on other support available, such as blue badges or the Macmillan grant.

In addition, I get involved with all sorts of ad hoc tasks such as raffles, tombolas, coffee mornings, planting roses, etc. Every afternoon there are different but rewarding challenges to overcome.

Volunteering is a great thing to get involved in, you meet so many different people. It is a cliché but I wanted to give something back to society and I have the free time to do it, so why not!

The Macmillan volunteer role can be tough – a lot of the conversations we have with patients and their loved ones are not easy, so you have to be very resilient and a good listener. But it is so rewarding. I go home tired, yet knowing that I have contributed in my small way to helping someone who may have just been given difficult news. The team at Macmillan are amazing. They have made me feel so welcome. Everyone works together as a team and you can always ask for help or get a second opinion.

Joan Finn, League of Friends Volunteer

Joan FinnI truly enjoy volunteering at the Trust because it gives me a reason to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. It’s fun meeting all the customers that come to the League of Friends shop.

Being a volunteer means I feel I’m doing some good by putting something back into society. Volunteering gives me a purpose.

The team of volunteers I work with are all nice, caring and helpful, we have barrels of fun and I constantly have a smile on my face.


To find out more about volunteering at MTW, contact the Voluntary Services team at