The coronavirus pandemic has wrought a lot of changes at BRHS over the past couple of months.
One change in particular has caused a lot of consternation across the health service and throughout the community – the absence of volunteers.
Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions instituted in March mandated that hospitals had to greatly restrict the number of people coming onto their premises.
Unfortunately, that meant no volunteers.
BRHS’ Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Fenby said staff regularly commented to her how much they miss the volunteers at the moment – not just for the tasks they undertake but for their presence around the hospital.
“It’s really not the same without them,” she said. “For anyone that has visited the hospital in the past, you know how important our volunteers are to the life and feel of the place.”
Approximately 250 volunteers currently give their time and talents to BRHS, undertaking all sorts of tasks, including providing transportation services, helping patients and visitors get around the hospital, raising funds for vital equipment, and helping our facilities team.
Their absence is being keenly felt this week – May 18 to 24 – because it is National Volunteers Week.
This is typically a moment that BRHS hosts a gathering to recognise and thank volunteers for the enormous contribution they make to the health service and the community.
“But this year’s celebration will have to wait,” Fenby said. “First, we’ve got to get them back here, and we’ll be following all the necessary steps and guidelines to make it safe to do so, as soon as possible. I, for one, can’t wait to welcome our volunteers back to BRHS.”
Fenby said that although she couldn’t thank them in person, she wanted all the volunteers to know that BRHS is thinking about them, and appreciates greatly what they bring to the health service.
“I think the past few months have given us all some perspective about what is important in life,” she said. “The generosity and desire to help people that volunteers demonstrate is definitely something that we will continue to embrace, and that we hope continues to underpin our community.”
You can contact Melanie Fenby to learn more about volunteering at BRHS by calling (03) 5150 3346, or email firstname.lastname@example.org