No one should be alone at Christmas

The Friends of St Cross and Age UK Warwickshire are launching a joint appeal for volunteers to visit and befriend patients in the Hospital of St Cross over the Festive Season.

Patients at the hospital, which is managed by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, can enjoy a variety of activities. Playing games such as dominoes or scrabble, or using the Artie art cart available to patients, are great ways to open up conversations which can be rewarding for both the patients and befrienders.

Chris Seddon, Modern Matron at the Hospital of St Cross, said: “Unfortunately we will have many patients at St Cross who will not be well enough to be discharged home before Christmas. They may also not have friends or relatives nearby who can visit them. This is a great initiative being launched by the Friends of St Cross and Age UK to help give people some much-needed company.”

Kristine Davies, Head of Voluntary Services for UHCW NHS Trust, said: “We have a well-established Healing Arts programme to help improve the experience and environment for our patients. Our activity co-ordinators work with ward staff and volunteers from the Friends of St Cross and the Good Times Project to keep patients occupied while they’re in hospital. We have seen the benefits these initiatives bring to help patients all year round. Christmas can be an especially lonely time, so it is great to team up with the Friends and Age UK to reach out into the community for more volunteers over the festive season.

"We have special arrangements in place for this initiative so people won’t have to be a registered volunteer with either charity, though of course that helps. We just need to know who you are and on which days you can be available during normal visiting hours of 2pm to 4pm from the 24th December to 2nd January inclusive!! ”

Nikki Gill, Befriending Co-ordinator for Age UK Warwickshire, said: “We often receive offers from members of the public who would like to volunteer at the weekend. Unfortunately we have not been able to place them for a variety of administrative reasons and so are delighted to work with the hospital and the Friends of St Cross to be able to tap into the great goodwill that we know is around.”

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said: “We would like people interested in cheering up patients during the Festive season to register with us as soon as possible by emailing or coming to Outpatients at St Cross between 10 and 12 on Saturday 16th December. Please bring along some photo ID and proof of your address. We look forward to welcoming people from across the community who would like to take up this opportunity to make a difference for patients in our great hospital.”

Please email for more details.