For 23-year old Hannah Tattersall, from Stourbridge, volunteering with Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) in Halesowen has been a springboard towards a career in healthcare.
To get into medical school students must prove that they have relevant experience. So, in 2012, while studying for A levels, the wannabe surgeon started helping at RVS coffee mornings for older people. With this responsibility under her belt, Hannah then took the next step and began a befriending role for two older ladies in the community.
For two years now Hannah has played a significant role in these ladies’ lives, visiting them regularly and giving them care, attention and friendship.
In 2013 Hannah applied to go to medical school, but was turned down for lack of experience. One year, and 12 further months’ of caring responsibility later, Hannah has been accepted, and in September she will start her new life in training to become a doctor.
“In every hospital many of the patients are older people, so I knew that I needed to learn how to communicate with and relate to pensioners. I have always wanted to volunteer, and RVS do such an amazing job that I went straight to them to see what I could do.
“At first I helped out in group situations, serving refreshments, running quizzes and playing games at coffee mornings. Once I gained a bit of confidence, I then asked to take on a befriending role.
“It was a bit scary at first, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve become friends with both ladies, so I’ve benefited just as much as they have. And I now have no worries about my bedside manner.”
Kirsty McGarvey, service manager at RVS, who also started her career as a befriending volunteer, said:
“Hannah has made a huge impact in improving two ladies’ quality of life. She has helped them to build and gain confidence and made them feel happier, valued and wanted.
“We are lucky to retain Hannah as a volunteer. As well as her caring nature, we’ve all benefited from her sense of fun. Our branch has also gained from new networking contacts that Hannah has provided us with.
“RVS profits enormously from youth volunteers and I urge other organisations to realise the assistance that they can get from young people.”