Today we celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVDay) to champion the impact volunteers have in communities, nationally and globally. The theme for 2019 is 'Volunteer for an Inclusive Future – E whai wāhi ai te katoa, kia tūao te tū'.
It is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism and to encourage decision makers to support volunteer efforts and recognise volunteer contributions to the achievement of an inclusive future. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge volunteer contributions to the progress of the sustainable development goals at a local, national and international level.
At Northland DHB the work hospital volunteers do go a long way to empower people in our community to participate and feel included, which is one of the themes of IVDay, along with promoting diversity and non-discrimination.
At least once a week, volunteers dedicate their own time to turn up at Northland DHBs four hospitals to support patients and their whānau spending time at our hospitals.
At Whangarei Hospital alone there are well over 60 volunteers who undertake a range of roles from meeting and greeting, chaplaincy support, assisting in the playroom to safely delivering people to and from their cars in the Shuttle Bug. Volunteers at Kaitaia Hospital not only help in the Hospital, but they also assist patients travelling to Whangarei for appointments on the daily shuttle services. In Dargaville and Bay of Islands Hospitals’ the Chaplaincy service is supported by their volunteers
To show their appreciation, each year Northland DHB hosts a volunteer luncheon and this year, was no exception, despite a major power outage cutting power to the entire region last Wednesday.
GM planning and integration people and performance John Wansbone ensured there were no hiccups on the day by smoothly directing the agenda as MC and keeping the audience up to date with the latest news from Northpower.
Chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain assured everyone that there are plenty of contingency plans in place for when the power goes down. He then thanked volunteer coordinator Rose Armstrong for not only organising the event but for all the work that she puts into looking after our valuable volunteers.
He acknowledged the volunteers who give up their time to work within our Hospitals. Then spoke about those who contribute in other ways - like the woman who brings flowers to the Hospital from her garden every week, those that knit items for patients, and the SPCA staff who bring their dogs on to the Wards and the Tumanako Unit as part of ongoing therapy and wellbeing for patients. Volunteers Gail Taylor and Jeanette Smith were given a special mention for dedicating 15 years to the organisation.
Dr Chamberlain finished by telling the volunteers that their dedication does not go unnoticed by staff and public alike.
"What you do is genuinely integral to the Hospital. Those that greet patients on arrival help create a good first impression, which is incredibly valuable and sets them up for a much better experience."
Business manager HR and Corporate Support Services, Teresa Carrick, thanked Pak n Save and the other sponsors Culham Engineering, Maunu Pharmacy, Kmart and Amber Lee Florist for their generous donations of gifts and spot prizes given out before lunch. She highlighted the fact that volunteers bring the human touch to an organisation and in New Zealand contribute 157 million hours per year to the economy.
Before lunch, volunteer badges and bars were awarded, and Hospital chaplain Reverend Sue White played the piano for the annual singalong, much to everyone's delight.
Rose Armstrong was thrilled with the day and said Kamo Club worked hard to ensure a delicious lunch was served considering the delays due to the power outage.
Northland DHB welcomes new volunteers and if selected, a trial period of one month and a minimum commitment of six months are expected. Once signed up, they will then be provided with training and ongoing support to enable confidence and fulfilment from the roles that they undertake. While on duty, Volunteers are responsible Rose or a designated staff member.
Northland DHB Hospital Volunteers at their annual luncheon