Trust in your volunteers
Name: Aoife Middlemass. Which organisation are you involved with?: East Cheshire NHS Trust. What does the organisation do?: The trust provides healthcare for the local community. I am the volunteer manager so I oversee the promotion and recruitment and management of volunteers. We have approximately 300 volunteers ranging from 16 to 94 years of age. There are lots of different roles to suit all comers. We are very flexible and do our best to work around our volunteers’ lives. How did you become a volunteer?: As part of my role I process the breastfeeding support volunteers for the maternity ward and became interested in that when I became a volunteer on the maternity ward. I’m biased but I think it’s the best role in the Trust - and I have tried most of them. Which projects have you been involved with recently?: I recently received a grant from the National Lottery to run an activity group for patients four times a week in the conservatory on Ward 9. I have volunteers to help me run the arts and crafts session, music, games and ‘memories session. It’s lovely. We bring down patients from different wards and they have tea and biscuits and take part in musical bingo or whatever is on offer. What do you enjoy most about doing this?: I love the fact that patients and volunteers appreciate each other’s company. The patients look at younger volunteers as surrogate grandchildren and the older volunteers can relate to past events with them. Volunteer get so much from the experience. What is your favourite place in Macclesfield?: Cinemac. I love the old-fashioned setting of it with the seating taken from an older cinema, buying ice-cream and popcorn and the whole intimate feel of it. Much cosier then the huge multiplex cinemas. Ideally how would you spend every day?: I’d love to spend more time redecorating my house. We moved in four years ago and it still needs work. However, I could only do that for a limited time, the novelty would wear off. I like the varied nature of my job, something different every day. What was the best holiday you have been on?: We spent two weeks in France this summer, one week with my sister and her family in the Charantes region and the second week camping at 2,000 feet in the Vosges in the North East. It was fantastic. We could run out of the tent and jump straight in to a lake. If money was no object what would you do?: Finish my house and buy my husband a VW Transporter. He is obsessing about converting one into a camper and driving down through France and into Spain. What one piece of advice would you give?: You always have time to volunteer and you’d be amazed at how much you’d get out of it. What was your first job?: I worked in The Sweater Shop in Dublin selling mainly Aran sweaters to American tourists. What is on your CD / MP3 player?: Elbow, Joan Armatrading, Jamie T, Arctic Monkeys. What is your favourite TV show?: I used to love Cold Feet and just watched the first episode of the new series. Who would you like to invite to dinner?: The Real Housewives of Cheshire! My daughters watch it and I can’t believe they are real. If you would like to volunteer with us visit: www.eastcheshire.nhs.uk/ Get-Involved/Volunteers. htm or call Aoife on 01625 661974.