The Friends of Crowborough Hospital are today delighted to announce that their volunteers, who give time and effort within the Friends have been recognised at the highest level by being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This award is the MBE equivalent for volunteer groups.
The Award itself will be formally presented in Crowborough by Mr Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex (the Queen’s representative) in September. This prestigious award recognises a wide range of excellent work by volunteers, both past and present, over many years. Their work includes running the Social Day Service (where they support socially isolated individuals), fundraising in the annual fete and other events, regularly staffing the Crowborough Hospital Shop, and not least, manning the two Friends’ Ambulances that support the Day Centre at the Hospital with patient transport.
My husband and I first became fundraisers for the Friends when the big appeal was launched for the major extension and renovation of the hospital. The hospital is so important to our community that we had to do something positive to help. After the successful appeal ended, I had come to see just how much the Friends do and what other help they needed so I stayed on working in the office as a volunteer, mainly doing administration for the shop.”
My wife used to work on the ward at Crowborough Hospital and soon became involved in the annual fete. Over three years ago she was approached to run it, because the fete organiser had stepped down and there was noone to take over. We both decided we couldn’t let that happen and as I work from home and my time can be flexible, I got stuck in. The fete is such an important event in Crowborough and everyone expects it to take place. I just had to step in and have found it an all-too English mix of joy and frustration but above all rewarding!
I have known for a long time what an excellent organisation the Friends of Crowborough Hospital is. When I retired from my career as an airline pilot, I wanted to give some time to my community which had been impossible with my work pattern. When I approached the Friends, it was clear that there was a need for a transport manager which suited me and my interests and also gave me some flexibility. It has been the perfect way to give something back.
I am proud to be a trustee of the Friends and now that I am retired, I am also a volunteer in the social day centre using my original training as a food economist and nutritionist to help people enjoy cooking and produce nutritious food to share or take home. When the Friends installed a special re-hab kitchen in the Day Centre I felt it was a very forward-thinking project. It was designed for people who are getting better but still need their confidence boosted. By using the re-hab kitchen, they can have fun in the kitchen with delicious stuff to take home.
I have volunteered at the Crowborough Hospital Day Centre for many years because of the reward it gives me in making people happier. It has been an even more rewarding experience since the Friends started running it as I feel I have a say in how we help our clients. We run it more as a team focusing on the individual needs of our attendees and we all have a lot of fun.
Other winners of the Queen’s Award locally include SERV Sussex – a charity which assists the NHS by providing free night time transportation of blood, blood products and other urgent medical items.
The Friends of Crowborough Hospital are keen to recruit new volunteers who can bring a range of skills and enthusiasm to the work of the charity. In particular there are opportunities for volunteers to head up events management and other types of fundraising that contribute importantly towards continued financial security for the work of the charity. Prospective volunteers can contact our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com or visit their website for more information on the work of the Friends at www.foch.org.uk.
The Friends of Crowborough Hospital’s Evening Reception and AGM for 2017 is being held at the Hospital Day Centre on Thursday 29th June at 7.30 pm, and members of the public are welcome to attend.
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