Youth volunteer Scott develops confidence helping staff and patients in hospitals

Scott Jacobs, 16, is one of nearly 75 youth volunteers who spends time every week in our hospitals, meeting and greeting patients at reception, and helping out with general tasks on the wards.

Scott joined the youth volunteers programme in September last year, around the same time as starting his college course in health and social care.

Scott said: “My mum works at the hospital and recommended the new volunteering programme to me as I hope to become a nurse one day. I was really nervous, I had never had a job or volunteered before so it was completely new to me.

“I’m autistic and so talking to people has always been really challenging for me, but now I enjoy talking to patients on the wards as well as getting to know the staff. I feel much more confident now than I did before I started volunteering.”

Scott’s mum and general manager for women’s health, Zena Jacobs, said: “Scott has changed so much since he started volunteering. I was really nervous for him when he started, as he wouldn’t talk much but even just having an interview gave him newfound confidence.

“I’m so proud of him, he goes in early every day so that he can visit each ward and see what support they need so that he can co-ordinate the volunteers, a task that he initiated himself.”

Mandy Carliell, head of volunteering and public services, who created the programme said: “Scott is such a fantastic volunteer and the staff who see him regularly all really love working with him. 

“I love seeing how much confidence the volunteers get after a few weeks here. At the beginning, most of them are very shy but after a while their personalities come shining through and it’s such a privilege to offer a programme that can help them in this way.

“Our programme has been really successful, we initially started with the idea to have eight-week cohorts, but the volunteers didn’t want to leave after eight weeks! We recently conducted a survey with our volunteers and 100% of respondents said they’d recommend the programme.

“Our programme has been included as part of a study conducted by the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board, looking at the effects of volunteers on patients and staff, and whether the programme encourages young people to consider a career in the NHS.”