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CELEBRATING THE WORK OF GREATER GLASGOW AND CLYDE VOLUNTEERS

June 05, 2006 2:43 PM

Whatever the time, whatever the weather, whatever the task, a large band of very special people are always ready to help.They are the volunteers who dedicate themselves to help the health service and patients across our Health Board.Voluntary work is quite often a thankless task.

However, it is Volunteer Week and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is taking the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the work of the many people who volunteer their time and effort to our hospitals, health centres and community settings.

There are many excellent examples of how volunteers make a real difference to people's lives across Greater Glasgow and Clyde as well as making a difference to their own life as well.

Jackie is one of many volunteers who was looking to help people and meet new people.Having moved from England to Drumchapel she thought that volunteering might be an ideal way of meeting new people whilst getting to know her new community and doing something worthwhile for herself.

Jackie joined the CHAT team in 2004 and as part of her induction, she became involved in various voluntary activities such as, school visits, local volunteer walks, helped out in the CHIP (Community Health Information Point) and promoted health awareness events.

As Jackie became more confident and experienced in her volunteering, she committed more of her time and efforts to CHIP as her preferred choice of activity.

Jackie's learning and personal development continued to progress as she undertook training relevant to her learning needs and received ongoing support and encouragement from staff and fellow volunteers.

Her voluntary work has provided invaluable support to the GP practices within the health centre.

Jackie is happy to sing the praises of voluntary work.She said: "I really enjoy my volunteer work. I have met some great new friends and have learned new skills.

"I have enjoyed a range of training opportunities including First Aid, a mental health course, managing meetings and lots more.I receive great support from staff and Annette, my Volunteer Co-ordinator.

"The self- confidence and work experience that I have gained from volunteering has helped me gain a work placement and potentially secure a job with the NHS."

Sir John Arbuthnott, Chairman, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is delighted to add his thanks to the many volunteers who give their time to the NHS.

He added: "Over 2,000 people are involved in volunteering in our Health Board and Volunteers' Week is an opportunity for us to publicly recognise the work of our volunteers.It is also an opportunity to raise the awareness of the benefits of giving time, inspiring a new generation of volunteers.

"I am delighted to hear that there are almost as many different types of people volunteering as there are opportunities to volunteer, in particular I am pleased to see that more young people seem to be getting involved.

"Patients, staff and managers in the Health Board owe a debt of gratitude to the many volunteers not only for the generous financial donations that they make every year through their hard work and endeavour, but also for the excellent services they provide for staff, patients, their families and the general public on a daily basis.

"Having so many local people undertaking voluntary work demonstrates the level of goodwill towards the health service and a real willingness to help others in the local community.It is much appreciated.

"It is also important that we use this opportunity to recognise the volunteer work that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde staff undertake and the real difference that they make to peoples live not just in this country but across the world."

Volunteer week is also an opportunity to recognise the volunteer work that NHS staff undertake.

Dr Sadhu Gupta is an Eye Consultant at Inverclyde Royal Hospital but in his spare time does all he can to help improve the lives of people across the world.

Earlier this year Dr Gupta took his team to Ethiopia on an annual pilgrimage to poverty-stricken countries suffering from inadequate health facilities.

Following a trip to Bangladesh a few years ago, Dr Gupta`s had the vision to help poor and needy people in Asian countries. To make full use of his skill and experience he decided, with his colleagues, to set up 'Drishti Eye Camp project' (‘Drishti' is derived from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language meaning sight and vision).

To date he has made nine trips to places like India, Nepal, Pakistan, Burma and this year to Ethiopia. ‘Drishti' is derived from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language meaning sight and vision.

Dr Gupta said: "We were able to operate on 148 people during our recent trip, including a few children, during the five days we were there.As our time was limited we had to make the difficult decision of operating just on those with the most serious eye problems.These were the worst we had ever encountered over the nine years and we think this was because of the terrible poverty and the burden this places on families. However it was very satisfying for us all to operate on so many, we just wish we could have done more for the others who queued up every day."

ENDS

For further information contact 0141 201 4429.

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