When Richard Hewitson began volunteering with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he never imagined the experience would lead to a job.
But now the 39-year-old from Durham is due to join the University of North Tees’ enhanced care team as a full-time member of staff supporting patients with complex needs.
Richard said: “I started volunteering in May, working with older patients. The pandemic was hitting us and we all saw how valuable the NHS is. I just wanted to help.
“I also set up iPads so patients could see their family members and chat with them. Visiting isn’t allowed due to COVID-19 so this was really valued and you could see how happy it made the patients.
“The experience on the wards really helped when the job in enhanced care came up and the volunteering team supported me in applying.
“Volunteering has been a brilliant experience. I know I got a job in the end, but even if I hadn’t, I’d still have found it worthwhile. I’d definitely recommend volunteering to anyone looking to make a difference in their local community.”
Paul Wharton, volunteer co-ordinator, said: “Volunteers like Richard are part of the family.
“Our volunteers play a vital part in the day-to-day running of the hospitals. Even during the pandemic, they have been here, working hard and taking every precaution to protect themselves and our patients.
“We’re sorry we’re losing Richard from the volunteers’ team but happy he’s staying in the Trust family. We’re sure he’ll do a great job.”
Find out more about volunteering with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust here.