Teenager wins accolade in recognition of commitment to volunteering

West Suffolk Foundation Trust (WSFT) has awarded Chloe Williams their prestigious Dr Damian Kershaw Award for 2020.

The award is named after a former WSFT volunteer who went on to have a successful career in medicine but sadly died aged 28.

Sponsored by the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital charity and Dr Kershaw’s mother, Jackie, the award celebrates the achievements of a young person who has shown outstanding commitment to the Trust whilst on their six-month student placement.

Chloe, 18, is from Framlingham and says her desire to begin volunteering at WSFT stemmed from looking towards her future career goals.

“I was interested in a career in healthcare and when I saw the opportunity to volunteer advertised, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get experience in a hospital setting, working alongside healthcare staff,” she said.

Despite the student volunteering placement normally lasting six months, Chloe continued volunteering beyond that, helping to support staff and patients on the G4 ward.

“I really enjoyed volunteering and got a lot of satisfaction from the time I spent on the ward, hoping I was making a difference while learning new things every week,” she said.

Val Dutton, voluntary services manager at WSFT said: “We were delighted to present Chloe with this award for her reliability and support she gave to staff and patients during her extended volunteering placement and we wish her well in her aspired career in medicine.”

As well as her volunteering role at West Suffolk hospital, Chloe has been working at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as a care assistant, explaining that it has been “an amazing experience, a massive learning curve” as well as adding to her understanding of how patients are cared for before they arrive at hospital.

The experience gained at both the WSFT and EEAST is going to help Chloe in her next steps as she recently received her offer to start Medicine at the University of Leicester in September.

Steve Dunn, chief executive at WSFT said: A massive congratulations to Chloe who I am sure will go on to do great things in her career. I also want to say a massive thank you to every single person who gives their time to volunteer at our trust. Our volunteers are the icing on the cake at our hospital, and truly make such a difference to improve the experience of our patients and staff.”

The WSFT student volunteer programme offers sixth form and college students the valuable opportunity to work alongside clinical staff in a hospital environment.

Roles include helping on adult wards, interacting with older patients with patient activities as well as helping in the Friends Shop, a shop run by the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital charity.

Clinical shadowing placements are available to students with an interest in healthcare over the age of 16, in sixth form, college or post graduate education. This gives an opportunity for students to observe doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals in their day to day setting.

For more information, please contact voluntaryservices@wsh.nhs or visit the WSFT trust website.

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