Meet our volunteers – Carole Shotts

Carole Shotts – Inpatient Unit volunteer

I’m a ward volunteer, usually on the breakfast shift once a week, helping serve breakfast to patients on the inpatient ward. I come in around 8am, and my first job is to change the water jugs, then serve the patients in their rooms. It’s a nice time to be there because people are usually just waking up, you go in and open their curtains and have a chat. Then it’s all hands on deck for breakfast!  

I’ve been volunteering here for 22 years, I used to work full-time, and when my youngest child went to secondary school, instead of going home from work once a week I’d come here and work the evening shift (dinner), which was very different – full meal and drinks before dinner, then usually chatting or watching TV with patients after. 

It’s a hands-on role, you’re sort of like a patient liaison and can help them out when the nurses are busy – like getting a pencil for someone who wants to do a crossword, for example. After breakfast is served and cleared up, I get the chance to chat to people, if they want to.  

It can be tough – I have friends who don’t know how I do it, but for me, the positives outweigh the negatives, being there to support someone. It might sound weird to say I love it, but if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be a volunteer. I’m not the sort of person who can just give thousands of pounds of charity. But I’ve been giving them my time.  

It’s amazing to be that sort of person for someone who is dying, I always feel I would want someone to be there like that for me in the same situation. Sometimes you can feel helpless, when someone is very unwell or in pain, but you know that you’ve been there for them, and you’ve been able to open the curtains and show them the sun shining.