This International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2015) St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane recognised and thanked their amazing volunteers for their ongoing dedication and service. For over 60 years, volunteers have been supporting staff, patients, families and visitors currently with over 50 ‘Blue Angel’ volunteers donating their time.

All this wouldn’t be possible without someone spending their own time and effort recruiting, training and supporting volunteers. That person is St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane Volunteer Coordinator Toni Leahy, who has has dedicated 16 hours a week for the last five years to grow their volunteer service by successfully doubling the volunteer team and developed new volunteer-led services.

“I love what I do because of the people, the work we do and because of the atmosphere in the hospital,” Toni said. Volunteers play an important role in St Vincent’s, as Mrs Leahy explains there are many different services that “you don’t realise are important until you’re in hospital”.

Offering a listening ear and help with food or arranging a haircut are not the only services that volunteers assist with. One of their many roles includes a trolley service that provides patients with the opportunity to buy different items like magazines, different toiletries and treats. There is also a library trolley service that distributes free books. For patients who have no one to bring items to them, volunteers are there to help.

The Blue Angels volunteers include students to retirees ranging in ages from 22 years-old to 89 years-old, but Mrs Leahy believes they all have one thing in common; they are genuine people.

“Our volunteers are always happy, friendly, open and giving people,” Mrs Leahy said.

She can’t put a price on what she has gained from volunteering as she expressed her gratitude towards all Blue Angel volunteers and the different things they have taught her.

Words by Jocelyn Garcia
Image by St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane