Sandra - reception

Hi all. I’m Sandra. I’ve no idea how long I’ve been a volunteer at Willow Wood – probably coming up to 6 years! I absolutely and honestly love every minute I’m there. Even though it has been so quiet lately, it’s still fantastic speaking to people on the phone and face-to-face. You never know to whom you’re going to talk, and people are just so lovely!

I first volunteered because my Saturdays became so empty when my mum had her stroke. We used to spend the Saturdays when Manchester United weren’t playing home matches shopping, lunching, chatting and laughing and I missed that so much. I knew I needed to do something that filled the void. My cousin, Sheila Collier, who did so much at Willow Wood pre-Covid, suggested I volunteer, so an informal interview later, here I am. I now chat and laugh a lot but, this time with other volunteers, other staff and visitors. Sometimes we cry, too, but all of us have ‘broad shoulders’ and support when and where we can. What a fabulous way to make new friends and meet people.

I must admit that getting up on a Saturday is a bit of a struggle, as it’s the only day of the week, now, that I see two 8 o’clocks! Every day used to be 6 o’clock rise, but that was before I retired! It’s worth it though. When I arrive at Willow Wood, following a chat with various people, I ‘open up’ by removing all essential folders and checking the memos, the rotas and all relevant information. There is a check list for us to follow, so we don’t miss any tasks.

The till is my next job – something I always seem to get wrong! I’m sure it has a life of its own! Luckily Daniel is always just at the end of the phone to solve my queries. I must point out that being ‘harassed’ by certain members of Housekeeping doesn’t help, especially when we end up laughing so much!

It’s also the Receptionist’s job to check that the flowers are watered, the Remembrance Book is up-to-date, and the area is tidy.

Nothing is too complicated however.

The very best bit is meeting people. There are the two lovely postmen (who recently have been saturated by the dreadful weather, but always have a smile and a cheery word), the delivery people, the Macmillan Nurses and District Nurses (who eat more chocolate than I do), staff who ‘call in’ (to do extra work at weekend) and the visitors - some who come to see our patients, or some to bring donations, or call in with raffle ticket money or money for all the events that occur. Everyone is very welcome, and everyone seems to follow the current regulations immaculately. I like it when visitors ‘need’ a cup of tea or coffee – then I have an excuse for one!

We also never know who’s on the phone when that rings. We get all different sorts of enquiries and it’s just great to be able to help. People are always so pleasant and grateful for information; it’s wonderful! If it’s something we can’t help with, we can refer them on, or take a message to be dealt with on a Monday.

We stay for 4 hours on Reception, at the moment, but it really flies by. I love my time there.

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