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Jacqui Weller

Jacqui Weller twitter graphic 02


Jacqui Weller has volunteered for the Trust for approximately two-and-a-half years.

At first she helped on Caravelle ward at Crawley Hospital, where her duties included handing out dinners to patients and collecting their plates, making cups of tea and coffee for them and their visitors, and chatting to patients when they were lonely.

 Although COVID-19 ended her work on the ward, Jacqui adapted to a new role running a hub for gifts for NHS staff from well-wishers and businesses. She collected the donations - including Easter eggs, make-up, smoothies and 300 pies - from storage and oversaw their distribution.

 “I also made up special boxes of treats for the wards as often the staff couldn’t collect things themselves,” says Jacqui.

 “I photographed people – with their permission - collecting things and wrote ‘thank you’ letters and sent emails and photos to thank firms for their donations. It was a lovely job as people were so happy.”

 Jacqui now helps organise the Trust’s personal protective equipment (PPE), folding and packing aprons and masks for nurses.

 She also makes up boxes of essential items designed to help patients get through their first evening at home after they are discharged. Soup, tea bags, toilet roll and a list of useful numbers are among the items included.

 “We wrap this little hamper in cellophane and decorate it with a ribbon when it’s available,” says Jacqui. “I then take the hampers to wards for the staff to hand out.”

 Jacqui is also a volunteer at a vaccination centre, a role that involves greeting, reassuring, directing and handing out information.

 “It’s a lovely role,” she says. “Most people are so happy and eager to get the jab, they are buzzing; but a few are nervous and need reassuring. I try to make sure that if possible, when people move on from my post, they are smiling.”

Isolation has been a big part of Jacqui’s life in the past 12 months, as it has been for many people.

“Coming in and volunteering, even when I do the jobs on my own, but especially when I work with wonderful NHS staff, and also the public, have helped me enormously,” she says.

“These roles have given me a reason to leave my house, and have given me a purpose to my life. They have felt useful in a small way and really helped my self-esteem. I am so glad I am lucky enough to be a volunteer.

“It is this work which has helped me cope through the pandemic. Without it, my life would have drifted. The challenges are what make the work both worthwhile and uplifting.”

 To support our Tap for our NHS heroes appeal, visit our website and JustGiving campaign.