Over the past year hospitals around the country have been under intense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. This has meant that the role of hospital volunteers has become more important than ever. I interviewed one such volunteer, Alice Wyles, on her experience as a volunteer inside King’s College Hospital over the past eight months.

What originally inspired you to start volunteering at King’s College Hospital?

“Well, I have always been interested in medicine and am hoping to become a doctor later in life so when I heard about a volunteering opportunity at King’s I decided to go for it and sign up. I had also read a lot about the strain hospitals were facing during the pandemic so thought that this would be a good way to try and do my bit and help out my local community”.

What is your role as a hospital volunteer?

“I mainly work afterschool at Kings’ drop off desk where I help visitors organise the drop off of items to patients. Usually the visitors coming in are family and friends coming to drop off care packages with items such as flowers, fruit, clothing and books. I also did a bit of work as a helper in the vaccine rollout scheme where I helped guide elderly patients who were receiving the vaccine. This was also a really rewarding experience as I got to see the rollout programme in action and chat to some of the patients where I heard about some really interesting stories.”

What has been your biggest challenge whilst volunteering?

“During my job at the drop off desk it has definitely been quite challenging to see visitors who are upset coming in. I usually try to be as helpful and friendly as possible in these instances but it can sometimes be hard. These experiences have definitely made me reflect on how tough the pandemic has been for some families and how important it is for us to be as caring towards each other as we can.”

And finally, what has been your favourite experience as a volunteer?

“I think my favourite experience has to be when a lady came in with a basket of grapes and a card to drop off to a man suffering from Covid-19 complications. When I asked her what her relationship was to the man (so that I could fill in the necessary forms) she told me how she didn’t really know him that well but was his neighbour and knew that he didn’t have any family or friends close by to come drop things off. This was really great to see as it reminded me that even in these harder times where it can be easy to feel isolated there are still people looking out and caring for one another”.