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A get together for volunteers who help at two community hospitals in the Forest of Dean was an opportunity to say 'thank you' for their support, and to provide a training session13 12 volunteers at the Dilke - volunteers listening copy on the importance of infection prevention and control.

Both the Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney and District Hospital are supported by a group of enthusiastic local people - young and older - who give their time freely to carry out a variety of roles, ranging from delivering cups of tea on the wards and keeping patients company, through to painting benches and helping to maintain flower beds in the hospital grounds.

Matron Mandy Hampton said: "I cannot begin to thank our volunteers enough for the contribution they make to our hospitals: they’re more than just volunteers, they’re part of the team. Volunteers provide much valued help to our staff, and an invaluable service for our patients. As nurses, we always try to make as much time as possible to listen and talk to the people we're caring for, but sometimes it can be very hard to find the extra few minutes to stop and chat: volunteers are able to devote time to this, as well as many other things, which really helps to improve the overall experience for our patients.”

Paul Jennings, chief executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, added his thanks: “It always gives me great pleasure to visit our hospitals in the Forest, not just because of the beautiful setting, but because the atmosphere is always welcoming and friendly. From the patient feedback we receive, it is clear that our volunteers help to create a really positive and caring environment, and their continued support is greatly appreciated by our staff as well as by our patients and their families and carers.”

Each volunteer was given a small gift as well as a certificate of thanks on behalf of all the team at the Dilke and Lydney Hospital.

For more information about volunteering within the Trust, please contact volunteer co-ordinator Tina Thomas email