Let’s Celebrate Volunteers’ Week

02 June 2024

Volunteers’ Week starts on Monday (3 June) and we will be celebrating the amazing people who give up their spare time to support our service for the benefit of their local communities.

We have almost 1,000 volunteers who have offered over 267,000 hours, supported over 64,000 patients and engaged with an estimated 3,200 people in our communities over the last year.

Volunteering enables us to dedicate more time, care and attention, not only to our patients and communities, but also for the benefit of our staff. This is possible because volunteers can take on tasks that free up staff to focus on patients with more complex needs, or by contributing to service improvements by providing a patient voice, which ultimately enhances the quality of care we provide.

We will mark Volunteers’ Week by spotlighting our Community First Responders (CFRs), PTS Volunteers, Critical Friends, Community Engagement Volunteers, BASICS Doctors as well as those who support our YAS Charity, environmental initiatives and the therapy dog project. We will also be holding some local events to celebrate 25 years since the first CFR scheme was established in Yorkshire.

In addition, we will be focusing on the hard-working teams who support our network of volunteers and those have turned volunteering into an ambulance service career.

It has also been a year since we launched our first Volunteer Development Framework which sets out our commitment to supporting and enhancing volunteering – here is a summary of what we have achieved so far with more details here.

Nick Smith, Chief Operating Officer, said: “I would like to express my personal gratitude to our network of volunteers who selflessly offer their time and their kindness to support our Trust, our patients, and our local communities. Volunteers are a key part of our organisation and feature throughout our new Trust strategy.

“We have heavily invested in volunteering over recent years and continue to do so to ensure we are a brilliant organisation to volunteer with; an organisation that understands and recognises the power of volunteering, is innovative in the way we involve volunteers, and is devoted to supporting a volunteer community that reflects the diversity, energy, and giving nature of our communities. I cannot thank them enough for their continued commitment and devotion.”

Helen became a Community First Responder when she retired after a long career in the NHS.

“I have enjoyed working with a broad range of patients and helping assess their needs. Giving reassurance and taking their medical history is a key part of the role, as is giving a good handover to the ambulance crew when they arrive.”

Community First Responder Joshua reached the final in a Volunteer of the Year competition after being nominated by the grateful family of a patient.

 “I feel proud to give back to my local community while supporting the NHS.  Been able to support my community in their time of need gives me a huge sense of pride.”

Rob has volunteered as a Community First Responder for 12 years.

“As a CFR with Yorkshire Ambulance Service you are very well supported and valued members of the team. We get regular training meetings and opportunities to move into the ambulance service as a paid employee are ever present too.”

When Joseph moved from India to the UK, he became a Patient Transport Service Volunteer to learn more about the Yorkshire culture, language, places and people.

“I am really grateful to be able to listen to many stories of passengers about things that have changed their lives and sometimes my perspectives too. I can assure anybody who would like to join the volunteer team that they will have a great experience with Yorkshire Ambulance Service.”

Debs has been committed to helping to improve our mental health service provision as one of our Critical Friends.

“I was so excited to hear about a project for a dedicated mental health ambulance. This was fantastic news and I followed the process from the beginning to where we are now with more mental health ambulances in our fleet. It's great to see how far we have come,” she said.

Nick works as an Ambulance Care Assistance with our Patient Transport Service. He is also a Community Engagement Volunteer, providing life-saving training to community groups.

“I’ve loved every minute of being a Community Engagement Volunteer,  teaching vital life skills for free. I’ve always said a minute of my time could be worth the world to another and this way it literally could be!”

Pam became a Critical Friend seven years ago after having 16 ambulance admissions to hospital due to a complex heart condition in 2010.

"All the staff from the 999 Emergency Operations Centre, the Community First Responders and the ambulance crews that responded to my calls were amazing. It was because of the care that I was given that I wanted to give back to the service.”

Sheila has been a Patient Transport Service Volunteer for an incredible 26 years in September!

“The excitement when I first started in 1998 was immense! I've always enjoyed my work, which is rewarding and interesting.”

We have 32 staff who support us as Community Engagement Volunteers, working in their local communities to pass on key skills such as first aid, basic life support and talking about careers in the ambulance sector.

Last year they attended 57 events, speaking to an estimated 3,200 people.

Thank you Pets As Therapy UK volunteers and their pets, who donate their own time to support the health and wellbeing of our staff. Cockapoo Baxter Australian Labradoodle Frankie have helped over 600 staff in our NHS 111 call centre in Wakefield over the last two years.

Thirty volunteers from several local organisations have given over 250 hours to support us and local environment by creating green spaces at several of our workplaces. This has included planting orchards, hedgerows, trees, wildflowers as well as creating wildlife ponds.

Produced by: Corporate Communications Department