Award winning volunteer team seeks new recruits

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Our award winning hospital navigator scheme are looking for volunteers.

The hospital navigator scheme, set up in collaboration with Thames Valley Police, provides the intervention needed to help young people move away from a life of violence and danger, to lead safer and healthier lives. The volunteers offer crucial assistance to young people by signposting to relevant support organisations and provide ongoing mentoring support in the community. The team are looking for more volunteers to help keep the service running and ensuring we can provide an additional source of support for those coming into our hospital through the front door.

The scheme helps anyone aged between 13 – 35 who is experiencing violence of any kind, in addition to any of the following risk factors:

  • Homelessness
  • Unemployment/poverty
  • Social isolation
  • Self-harm/suicidal thoughts
  • Substance misuse/alcoholism

This vital service is run inside the Emergency Department at Milton Keynes University Hospital into the evenings and weekends. Volunteers are on hand to provide comfort, support and advice to individuals who may be particularly vulnerable.

Here are just a few case studies to show the impact this service has had in recent months.

A young girl came into ED for mental health issues and was talking to a volunteer. Whilst talking she began to share the triggers for her anxieties. She is a single mum of a toddler, living in a council flat that was damp and had black mould. The young girl had respiratory problems which added to her anxieties. She told the volunteer that every time she rang the council to explain and ask for support she had ended up shouting down the phone which meant that her case was not progressing. The volunteer liaised with the council for her and applied some pressure which resulted in a quick move for her and her child. They are now in much safer housing.

A 14 year old boy presented at the ED with his mum after he had been robbed on the street and had his nose broken. He was very open to some extra support, with his mum saying that she thought he needed someone independent to talk to. Whilst talking to one of the volunteers, he mentioned he had an interest in boxing and other contact sports. After his nose had healed, a volunteer did some research and we informed him of a teenage boxing club that took place every Saturday, just five minutes from his house. He recently attended his first class and said in the next phone call that he loved it and couldn’t wait to continue. He has also met some other teenagers with similar interests whilst there and is starting to make some more friends.

An out of hours referral came through to ask for support for a man who attended the ED for an unrelated injury he obtained at work. Upon talking to the nurse, it became apparent that this man may be in a controlling relationship. A volunteer called the man and he opened up straight away, saying how he is being manipulated on a daily basis by his girlfriend to the point where he was starting to feel helpless. He was not ready for specific domestic abuse support but said talking it through was really helping him as his girlfriend have turned a lot of his friends and family against him. By the end of a couple of sessions he was ready to seek specialised support and said he wouldn’t have been able to find the courage to do this if he hadn’t had the chance to talk it through and make sense of it in his head.

To find out more about becoming a hospital navigator email [email protected] for more details. Alternatively, visit the YMCA website and become a volunteer.

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