Video: Norfolk hospital manager praised for boosting volunteer numbers from 76 to 675

Sally Knights, left, Catherine Wilson, centre, and Charlotte Kippin, right, with Anna Dugdale and John Fry at the NNUH volunteer Christmas party with the hamper presented by Nigel Pickover. Photo: Bill Smith Sally Knights, left, Catherine Wilson, centre, and Charlotte Kippin, right, with Anna Dugdale and John Fry at the NNUH volunteer Christmas party with the hamper presented by Nigel Pickover. Photo: Bill Smith

Monday, December 16, 2013
6:30 AM

A hospital manager “dynamo” who has boosted volunteer numbers from 76 to 675 in ten years has been honoured for her dedicated work.

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Sally Knights, who manages all the volunteers at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, spoke of her shock after receiving a surprise presentation of a luxury food hamper at the hospital’s annual volunteers’ Christmas party.

The 49-year-old, from Taverham, who has worked for the hospital for the last 15 years and has been voluntary services manager for the last ten years, was praised for her work at the volunteers’ long service awards on Friday.

However, she pledged to further increase volunteer numbers by a staggering 1,000.

Ms Knights and her team, Charlotte Kippin, volunteer coordinator, and Catherine Wilson, voluntary services assistant, were presented with a Jarrold hamper by EDP and Norwich Evening News editor-in-chief Nigel Pickover on Friday.

The presentation happened as dozens of volunteers were presented with long service awards for five, ten and 15 years volunteering at the N&N.

Ms Knights said the volunteers were not replacing jobs, but provided a valuable boost to the friendliness and welcoming atmosphere that the hospital offered. She added that their team of volunteers worked at seven sites across Norfolk, including Cromer Hospital, Norwich Community Hospital and the health records library.

She added that she was “speechless” to be honoured by hospital chiefs and praised the work of her team who have significantly increased volunteer numbers over the last ten years.

“We increased the roles available and we found new ways to use volunteers on wards and we got other external voluntary groups like the NNAB (Norfolk and Norwich Association for The Blind) and St Johns to help. We did a recruitment programme and created new volunteer roles in the hospital like meet and greet roles, clinical roles, administrative roles and bleep buddies.”

Ms Knights added that the oldest volunteer at the N&N is 94 and the youngest is 16-years-old.

“I want to get to 1,000 volunteers. It is an ambitious target, but I think it is achievable. We have a wealth of volunteering options throughout Norfolk and we do not have to recruit because we get volunteers coming to us. People in Norfolk are very giving and because we are a big flagship hospital, we are an attractive entity - people want to give back to their community.

“I absolutely love my job and I love the people that we work with. They do not come here to be paid, they want to be here. They are such a wonderful bunch of people to work with and make every day a pleasure,” she said.

Mr Pickover praised the volunteers for being the “lifeblood” of the hospital.

He told them: “You are the real people and you are the people that do it because you want to and people that look after the volunteers are very special,” he said.

John Fry, chairman of the hospital trust, added that the hundreds of volunteers gave a real buzz to the place.

“I think they are fantastic and they give the atmosphere to the hospital,” he said.

Eve Chandler, 94, of Norwich, who has been volunteering for 16 years and helps out at the eye clinic, said: “I wanted to give something back to the community and it is a way of helping other people. They [patients] are quite grateful to have someone to talk to and it distracts them.”

Anna Dugdale, chief executive at the N&N, praised the work of Ms Knights. She said: “She is amazing, a dynamo, she has built up the volunteer numbers from very few to 650 active volunteers doing all sorts of things from directing visitors around the hospital, chaperoning, meeting and greeting, collecting patient experience feedback, helping patients who cannot feed themselves to enjoy their meals by feeding them, hand massage for our renal patients, reading for our patients with dementia and helping at events. Sally is always thinking of the next idea in terms of how our volunteers can help support patients and staff and basically add that little bit of extra that we simply could not do, but which transforms our patients’ experience.”

Long service awards

Five years service

Ann Osborne, Jean Wilkinson, John Chapman, Richard Kemp, Julie Brett, Linda Goreham, Leona Pratt, Dawn Blanch, Susan Daniels, Lorna Turner

Chris Sharples, Pat Padilla,

Will Baldock, Lesley Parker, Jane Keeling, Angela Panton

Doris Shaay, Michael Pike.

Richard Pearce.

10 years service

Eileen Ames, Pamela Miller, Rita Kofkin, Angela Howard

Ellen Giles.

15 years service

Eve Chandler

20 years service

Christine Culley, Derek

Culley.

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