Why I give up my time to support families in hospital

For parents who spend lots of time in the hospital caring for their sick child, having a Hospital Support Volunteer to look after their other children is invaluable.

Working on a voluntary basis, Dominic gives the quality time and attention that children desperately need. In this Q&A, Dominic reveals how he became a Hospital Support Volunteer and why he feels compelled to give back.

How did you become a Hospital Support Volunteer?

I had a close friend who was helped by Rainbow Trust while he was in hospital. Seeing how they helped my friend made me feel like I owed them so much as a result. So, I looked into becoming a Hospital Support Volunteer and decided to reach out to Rainbow Trust. After a DBS check and excellent training, I was ready to go.

What sort of support do you offer to the families you work with?

I help by manning the playroom at St Thomas hospital, playing games, doing art and providing some light relief to the siblings of the sick child. If families have any questions about Rainbow Trust or have any worries, I can signpost them to find help.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a Hospital Support Volunteer?

Freeing up time for parents so that they can give their full attention to their sick child for a few hours. It takes off a lot of stress for families to know that their other children are playing safely and having fun. Also, if they need help, we can signpost them to what I know is available. It’s all about helping out, in any way you can, in a very tough situation.

What feedback have you received from the families you have helped?

The children I work with often thank me for looking after them and helping them to enjoy themselves. We often put the pictures that were painted onto the child’s bedside. The parents of the children will often say how having a hospital support worker has made them feel calmer and given them some much-needed relief.

Would you recommend others to become a Hospital Support Volunteer? And if so, why?

I absolutely would. It’s such good fun and you’re helping people going through the toughest times you can imagine.