Full-time student Eve Adams works closely with The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to deliver their youth volunteering programme and has become Helpforce's Young Volunteer of the Year.
As a result of volunteering, the 17-year-old has now gained employment as an administration assistant on the trust’s temporary staffing bank.
Eve said: "It is hard to think of just one reason why I volunteer. I have been on the receiving end of care at Royal Wolverhampton Trust many times and wanted to give back as a result of that. But I also thought it was a very valuable and interesting experience to have as well as something amazing to put on my CV."
Working closely with the youth volunteering programme co-ordinator Abby Townsend, Eve trains and mentors new volunteers as well as promoting volunteering to local schools, colleges, youth zones, and Wolverhampton Council.
Eve added: "I spent several months on our Covid-19 swabbing station as well as the virtual Covid-19 ward but the most important thing I feel volunteers can do during these challenging times is to provide much-needed companionship to inpatients whilst visiting is suspended. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to brighten up a patient's day.”
When asked what her favourite thing is about her role, she said: “The best thing is getting to see the progression young volunteers who pass through our programme make. I love supporting fellow young volunteers and enjoy going out into the community to talk about my experiences and what the trust offers to encourage and inspire others.
The role does also have its challenges, as Eve added: “It takes up a lot of my time, so sometimes it can be difficult to balance it out with my other commitments, but I always manage to make time to volunteer as it is what I love most.
“I started volunteering back in January last year so I haven’t really known anything different than working during the pandemic, but it certainly has made the role more challenging. Older patients tend to rely heavily on us for companionship due to reduced visiting.
“I think it makes it all the more rewarding when you know you’ve been able to positively impact a patient’s stay in hospital and also relieve some of the pressures on staff."
Volunteering is incredibly important to Eve, and she wants to raise awareness so more people consider giving up their time.
She said: “I want as many people to know about volunteers as possible; it’s important we feel valued by patients, visitors and of course staff.
“The work of a volunteer should never be underestimated; although we may not be paid for the time we give, we are just as valuable as any other member of staff.
"Volunteering can be just as beneficial for the person giving their time as it can be for the people who receive it.”