Southmead's Move Makers are set to stay

Monday, 18 August 2014

The popular Move Makers volunteers in the Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol are set to stay on indefinitely after proving such a success.

The friendly volunteers were initially recruited for a month to help patients and visitors find their way around the Brunel, which is run by North Bristol NHS Trust, during the move into the new hospital back in May.

But the Move Makers – who were inspired by the Games Makers of the London 2012 Olympics – proved so popular with people coming into the new building that it has been decided to keep them on indefinitely.

The volunteers, who are identified by their brightly-coloured T-shirts, greet patients and visitors as they come into the new hospital, help them check-in for their appointments, answer queries, direct people around the building and arrange wheelchairs for people with mobility issues.

An event, attended by North Bristol NHS Trust chief executive Andrea Young, was held last week at the hospital to celebrate the work of the Move Makers and thank the 114 volunteers for their efforts over the past three months.

And now the Trust is looking to recruit more Move Makers to be the friendly faces greeting people as they arrive at the Brunel.

Shirley Chant, a former nurse, volunteered to be a Move Maker after reading an article about them last autumn.

“I thought ‘I could do that’ and because it was just for the month of May it would be a way to see if I liked volunteering as I hadn’t done anything like this before,” the 64-year-old said.

“You meet other volunteers and get to know about their lives and make new friends.

“That was a nice thing about the celebration event as we got to meet more people you don’t usually do shifts with.”

Keith Liddiment worked in the police force for 32 years before moving into communications, and was already volunteering at Bristol Zoo when he spotted a leaflet in his GP surgery calling for volunteers to work at the new hospital.

“I thought it was a way of giving something back that I had taken from the National Health Service,” the 71-year-old said.

“If you like meeting people it’s a good place to volunteer.

“You have to have a reasonable standard of fitness though because of the wheelchair pushing.”

Shirley added: “It’s not a sitting down volunteering job. From the moment you come in until you leave it is four hours of walking and pushing.”

Jill Randall, voluntary services project manager, said the Move Makers have had a positive impact on the experience of patients, staff and visitors coming into the Brunel building.

“Having the Move Makers here has been a huge success. They have been a friendly, welcoming face for so many people coming into the hospital. And because they have made such a huge difference we are keeping them on – and recruiting more.

“They are wonderful people and we are so grateful that they have given up their valuable time to benefit the patients, visitors and staff.”

Move Makers need to be friendly with good communication skills and enjoy being on their feet and active throughout their four hour shift.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Move Maker email move.makers@nbt.nhs.uk with some information about yourself.