Volunteers of all faiths and none sought to support Chaplaincy Service

Small words can make a big difference to hospital inpatients and that’s why a campaign has been launched to recruit volunteers to support people’s spiritual needs at Bradford Teaching Hospitals.

Volunteers from all religions – as well as those from none – are being sought to bring a listening ear and kind word into the lives of patients on the wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, both part of the NHS Foundation Trust.

Our award-winning Chaplaincy Service consists of seven chaplains who represent all major religions in the city and provide pastoral healthcare for those of religious belief and none.

Source of comfort

Hospital chaplain, Maryam Riaz said: “For many patients, the Chaplaincy Service is a vital source of comfort during their stay.

“Chaplaincy volunteers help supplement this service by visiting patients and providing a listening ear and words of encouragement. They carry out visits to hospital patients for a few hours every week, to give support and reassurance.

“The Chaplaincy team currently has 67 volunteers but we want to expand its reach even further.”

Volunteers need to be aged 17 and over, and able to commit at least two-to-three hours every week to the Trust. All volunteers must undergo a training course, led by the hospital chaplains, before they are permitted to work on our wards.

Maryam added: “The chaplains deliver a thorough training programme to equip potential volunteers with the essential skills that are required for visiting patients.

“This includes vital listening skills, how to provide general support to people in a variety of different situations that might occur during their hospital stay, understanding religion and spirituality from different faiths, and an introduction to providing bereavement support.”

Induction course

A four-day induction course for chaplaincy volunteers has been arranged from 1-4 October, 2018, from 9.30am to 3.30pm at St Luke’s Hospital. Anyone interested should apply now, so the various checks can take place ahead of training.

Previous chaplaincy volunteers have won awards in recognition for the kindness, commitment and dedication they have shown to patients across the Trust’s hospitals.

One Chaplaincy volunteer said: “I could see how my 10-15 minutes visiting made a huge difference to this patient”, while another said:  “I was incredibly touched and overwhelmed that my visit had made such a difference to the patient, something that I will remember for a long time.”

If you are interested in becoming a chaplaincy volunteer, please contact Dawn Arnison on 01274 365819 or email dawn.arnison@bthft.nhs.uk.