A volunteer at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary has won a top accolade at the first ever Helpforce Champions Awards.
Louise Munro, 24, of Morecambe, who volunteered on-ward at the hospital, won the Volunteer of the Year award in recognition of her dedication to supporting hundreds of patients at the hospital.
Louise volunteered five days a week, across six wards to provide companionship to older patients - improving their stay and experience of the hospital.
This included engaging patients in reminiscence therapy and also gentle chair-based exercises and activities to encourage mobility and build strength.
Louise has gone on to become an employee of Royal Voluntary Service and now coordinates the service in Lancaster and Morecambe, supporting volunteers to do amazing things and developing the mobility, nutrition and hydration support of older people on ward and in the community.
Louise Munro, who is originally from Edinburgh, said of her win: “The NHS has done a lot for me and I wanted to give something back, I also wanted to use my experience as a patient to help improve other patient’s experiences in hospitals.
“Hospitals can be a scary place but having someone there simply to have a chat, to distract you, or even make you laugh, can make all the difference.
“The positive impact of volunteering on hospital wards can be seen in the patients and their hospital experience, but also in the staff and the volunteers themselves. I am absolutely thrilled to win this award.
“I only started volunteering 11 months ago and never expected to win such an accolade for doing something that I love.
“I am incredibly grateful for the support I’ve received from Royal Voluntary Service (Cumbria Hub) and for the nomination.
“I loved volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, it is the best thing I have ever done and I would encourage others, young and old, to follow suit.”
To find out more about volunteer opportunities contact the Royal Voluntary Service hub office at CumbriaHub@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or by phone on 01539 760001.
Alternatively, visit the website at www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.