Paisley Daily Express

Hospital heroes are hanging up their red T-shirts


Volunteers who ensured hundreds of patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital received their home comforts during the pandemic are hanging up their red T-shirts.

The Give and Go volunteers at the Paisley hospital, who have delivered thousands of care packages to patients throughout the pandemic - are disbanding now that visiting has resumed.

Launched last April, the Give and Go service proved to be a lifeline for patients who were missing out on the treats and essentials loved ones would normally bring during a visit.

It saw parcels with everything from toiletries to a patient’s favourite food delivered to wards all over the Paisley campus.

Harry Balch, volunteer manager at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, who is based at Dykebar Hospital, said: “We can’t thank the volunteers enough.

“Since the service started, these amazing people have come in and put themselves on the front line, even at the height of the second wave and during the worst of weather, to deliver this vital service.

“Their selflessne­ss has been such an inspiratio­n to us all.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but they are our superheroe­s.”

“I and so many of my colleagues will never forget them.”

Around 330 volunteers have been involved in the service across NHSGGC hospitals, collecting and delivering personal items such as toiletries, snacks, mobile phones and iPads, books and clothing.

And the volunteers’ red T-shirts quickly became a trademark, with patients really looking forward to seeing if the volunteers had a parcel for them.

Harry added: “The bags families left with us really were packages of love.

“We’d get messages saying ‘my dad really loves this particular make of fudge, can you make sure he gets it’, or ‘I’ve made my mum her favourite tuna sandwich, can you deliver it while it’s fresh’.

“While some of the deliveries were very strange, and unforgetta­ble, it was the little, everyday things – the clean jammies, or the special box of chocolates – that made a difference.”

Margaret Connolly, assistant chief nurse at NHSGGC, added: “The Give and Go service couldn’t replace visits from loved ones, but it did go a long way to making patients feel more comfortabl­e during their hospital stay.

“I’d like to thank all the volunteers, staff and volunteer managers who have been involved in the delivery of this vital service, which has proven so valuable to so many.”

And while the Give and Goers at the RAH will be stepping away from their delivery roles, most of them are moving to other volunteeri­ng positions across the hospital.

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