Sat on a bench on a sunny September day, it is clear that Maisy Vincent, Upper Sixth student, is rather taken aback and modest about her recent award nomination. On October 25th Maisy will be travelling to London for the Helpforce Champions Young Volunteer of the Year.
Maisy has been dedicating her Wednesday Afternoon Activity to Helpforce, a new charity working with the NHS aiming to release pressure on NHS Trusts by increasing numbers of volunteers to help with the care of patients.
Each NHS trust has its own volunteers and volunteer system, but Helpforce is working to provide links between them by looking at all the trusts, seeing who’s doing what well and how that can be applied to other trusts across the country looking to increase their volunteer numbers.
Maisy has spent most of her volunteering as dementia support at Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, where she’s based on wards with high volumes of dementia patients.
NHS staff have many responsibilities, so to improve overall patient experience right across the country, Helpforce volunteers are there to take some weight off their shoulders.
Read more about the Helpforce Awards at https://www.helpforce.community/get-involved/awards/
She explained: ‘I work with patients and their families to try and improve their experience and care in hospital. It might be doing things like memory joggers to keep their mind active, or just sitting and giving them company, because a lot of the patients don’t have family or friends to come and visit them. They want someone who has the time to sit down and say hello and find out about them, and I think that really improves their stay. Hopefully they can be happier and healthier and in turn leave hospital quicker’.
Maisy has been working with Helpforce directly to help set up a scheme similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
She talked about it: ‘I was in a focus group to develop the idea of having an award that young people could work towards, and gain formal recognition for the work they do. They could use this for CVs, to be even more employable, or to add to UCAS applications. At the moment we’ve thought about having a set amount of hours for volunteers to complete, and to write and reflect on what they’ve learnt’.
In the future, Maisy hopes to study a degree based around International Aid and Development, where she can apply her people skills.