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Volunteer scheme launched for vulnerable young people at Queen’s Hospital

Shauna Neylon is determined to become a nurse (Credit: BHRUT)

Queen’s and King George hospital’s voluntary services team has developed a programme to support vulnerable young people 

Three groups of students will be offered the chance to gain work experience for two days a week for six weeks. 

The Student Summer Volunteer programme will be open to young people who are disadvantaged, have experience with the care system or who are at risk of criminality. 

Last year it was open to 12 local students who had missed out on education because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Shauna Neylon, 18, of Elm Park, volunteered in different specialities at Queen’s Hospital last year. 

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a social worker,” she said. “But my aunt was diagnosed with cancer and I saw the way the nurses and hospice carers looked after her and it made me want to give back and help others.”

Shauna continued volunteering at the hospital after finishing the programme and is now set to begin studying Adult Nursing at King’s College London in September.

She said: “It completely secured it in my mind; every week I’d look forward to coming into the hospital and now I can’t wait for September to start and be one step closer to becoming a nurse.

“While I’m at uni, I’ll be doing shifts as a healthcare assistant with the Trust because the main fundamentals of nursing are personal care and assisting people and that’s the role of a healthcare assistant.

“I feel like I’m giving myself a little bit of a head start by doing this now rather than waiting until I begin uni and then looking for it.”

Antoinette Webber, Voluntary Services Manager, said: “Shauna has completely excelled and been amazing since she started volunteering with us at a time when we were in the pandemic and a lot of people were petrified.

“Normal life stopped so for Shauna and some of the other young people to still come in and face that fear was absolutely tremendous because it was scary for all of us. That is really commendable because it was a really difficult thing to do, so it requires a real level of digging deep to push through.”

Two other students who took part in last year’s programme have received tentative offers of apprenticeships with Queen’s and King George hospitals and two others are still volunteering. 

The first group of people taking part in the programme this year will start working later this month. 

Victoria Miles-Gale, Head of Patient Experience, said: “This is a really innovative and exciting programme that will directly impact our local communities. It is a structured programme with competencies to be achieved so will provide the people taking part with evidence of their learning and development.

“Developing this programme will really help the Trust as we attempt to grow our own workforce for the future.”

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