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Celebrating our volunteers, giving back in 2020

Empowering people through fashion

Celebrating our volunteers giving back in 2020

Interview with Sarah Curran – Para Consultant, JAM Team at Wavelength

December 5th celebrates the United Nation’s world volunteer day. This year the theme is ‘Together we can through volunteering’. As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world this year, volunteers have been at the front of the medical, community and societal responses. As a result, their work hasn’t gone unrecognised. The world media has recognised and paid tribute to all volunteers for all the hard work, such as providing care, assisting those most vulnerable and helping those living on their own.

To celebrate international volunteers’ day, we chat to one of our fellow Wavies, Sarah Curran about her important involvement as a volunteer at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

How long have you been volunteering and how did you get involved?

I started volunteering in April this year as I was working from home. As a result of the pandemic, I had a few extra hours in my day and wanted to give back to the community.

My sister and I help at Keith's Closet which is a fantastic initiative that was created by an Irish nurse, Keith Donnelly and is run as part of the mental health unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

My sister was previously involved in the program, so I was naturally curious about it. I got in touch with Keith’s Closet about volunteering and I was stunned to hear that they had no other volunteers during the pandemic, so, they were extremely grateful to have an extra pair of hands.

Can you explain your role and what you do?

My main role is to sort through the donated clothes, organise them, stock the walk-in closet and the most enjoyable part, take the latest donations around the ward. The aim is to create a nice environment for the patients. They have the opportunity to choose new clothes which can help them feel more comfortable. We also help them find clothing from the donation pile and more importantly have a chat.

Very often the only other human interaction some patients have is from the doctors and medical staff. I like to help and find them something bright and vibrant and bring some joy to their day. It provides them with a real confidence boost and helps bring a smile to their face.

We volunteer every Tuesday evening for two hours.

What has it been like volunteering through Covid?

The hardest bit has been the time limit and trying to fit everything into two hours. As patient safety is paramount and with all the COVID precautions in place, a big chunk of time is taken from helping those in need.

Some of the measures are temperature checks, checking that we haven’t been to any hotspot areas/ venues, wearing a mask and lots of hand sanitiser. To make sure that clothing is safe, we also quarantine our donations for two weeks as a precautionary measure.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering for you?

For me, the most rewarding part is the impact that you have on these people’s lives. You are treating them like humans, not patients. You get to make them feel special and give them a real confidence boost.

What are your top tips for people looking to get involved in volunteering?

If you’re thinking about volunteering, just reach out to an organisation that you are interested in and see if they need a hand. Often a lot of people will think because of COVID that it is too difficult to help, but these organisations are often willing to work around you. The time you put in will make the biggest difference and will have a real impact on those in need.

At Wavelength we believe in giving back as a business, that's why we offer paid volunteer days,  support great causes and encourage giving back to our community. If you are interested in joining Wavelength, register with us today to stay up-to-date about the latest job opportunities.

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