Volunteer stories

Our hard working volunteers have shared their experiences with us as part of an ongoing volunteer story series which gives us a special insight into the vital role our volunteers play in patient experience and care.

Tooba Kakar

“I was inspired to volunteer to give something back to Birmingham Children’s Hospital after my sibling benefited from the services here.

“I work as a volunteer on Fridays for two hours on Ward 10, which specialises in neurosurgery. I help deliver lunch to patients and take orders for supper as food is an important part of how we deliver care for our patients.

“Volunteering has enabled me to make new friends and work in an environment with a multidisciplinary team, which has given me a sense of belonging. I really feel valued amongst the team here.

“It has also provided me with a chance to learn new skills and has really helped to build my confidence. Observing some patients who have had craniofacial surgery and others who are being rehabilitated is something I have never come across before.

“I like to help others and try my best to make the environment for patients and visitors a little friendlier and more comfortable. I have been able to talk to parents, offer them tea and play games with the children.

“It has allowed me to bring a smile to someone’s face, which has made me realise that even a minute spent talking to a patient can make a huge difference to their wellbeing. My experience as a volunteer has not only taught me perseverance but has also improved my communication skills, especially working with children who are experiencing difficulties with their speech.

“I love spending time here and I could never have imagined I would gain so much through this experience. I would recommend volunteering at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to anyone who gets a chance to do it!”

Liz Inchley

"While studying Psychology at Aston University, I decided to increase my experience working with children to fulfil my future ambitions. Coincidentally, I received an invitation to attend a presentation at the university about volunteering at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The Volunteering team helped me pinpoint what I wanted to focus on as a volunteer and I decided on arts and crafts activities. My fellow students and I applied through the Student Outreach Service at the university, and I began my volunteering role in the summer of 2014.

My first day in the Oncology Day Clinic is something that I’ll never forget: being introduced to the staff, the children, and talking about the work I would be doing. I spent the whole shift smiling and I left with a huge amount of pen ink on my hands!

When I made it back home that day, I had to sit quietly for a moment and let it wash over me that I was finally doing what I want to do when I 'grow up'. I had created smiles and brightened my own day in the process, and that felt incredible.

Since then, my two hour shift every Wednesday morning has been such a rewarding experience. Understandably, patients may be quiet or tired, but it’s amazing to know that I can be there to help. This role has given me confidence, responsibility, trust, and a sense of pride in what I do.

Very soon, I will be leaving the hospital to concentrate on university exams. I suspect my last day will be a difficult one; I’m definitely going to miss those faces lighting up when I walk around the corner with an armful of exciting things to create but I have no doubt that I will use everything I’ve learned here in my future career. The experience I’ve had has been invaluable to me and I have treasured every minute."

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