news 21 February 2024

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh meets young people making a difference at King’s College Hospital through their DofE

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust today to hear from some amazing young people making a difference by volunteering on the wards as part of their DofE.

In his role as Patron of the DofE charity, The Duke joined young volunteers from London as they assisted with lunch service on the Marjory Warren Ward, helping patients and hospital staff, as they complete their DofE Volunteering section activities.

The Duke helped young people give out meals and heard about how their regular volunteering tasks, which at lunchtime includes cutting up food for patients and opening food packages, are a great source of support for patients and busy hospital staff. The Duke also learned from DofE volunteers about the befriending service that they provide to patients, to help reduce isolation during their hospital stay.

The Marjory Warren Ward is a specially designed sensory ward for frail older people, which provides a friendlier and more relaxing environment for its patients who often have dementia and delirium. Young volunteers spoke to The Duke about how they help patients to make the most of activity packs – including games and electronic tablets for entertainment and to help them stay connected with family and friends – which are provided to them to make their time in hospital more comfortable.

DofE participant Sayeed Ahmed, 18, from Ilford, has been volunteering with King’s College Hospital since April 2023 and is working towards his Silver DofE Award. Sayeed, who helped host The Duke during his visit, said:

“It has been brilliant meeting The Duke of Edinburgh today and showing him the difference DofE volunteers like me are making to patients at King’s College Hospital. I volunteer as a ward befriender at the weekend as part of the Volunteering section of the Award. I really enjoy the appreciation I receive from patients, even though my contributions to patient care are tiny compared to the doctors and nurses who do a wonderful job. I also enjoy being able to lend an ear to patients and learn more about them through their experiences and their stories.

“Doing the DofE has really connected me to those around me. I feel humbled to serve the community and I feel I’m fulfilling my purpose to society. In the future, I hope to work in dentistry in the NHS, and I know that the experiences gained through doing the DofE, will give me the confidence and skills to achieve that.”

Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: ‘It has been fantastic to show The Duke of Edinburgh the brilliant work our young volunteers are doing at King’s College Hospital today. Thanks to our network of volunteering partners – including King’s College Hospital – young people can find a whole range of meaningful ways to volunteer and complete their other DofE sections too. Last year, DofE participants at King’s gave over 2,600 hours of volunteering which is incredible.

“These young people are making a huge difference to their communities and the experience of patients in hospital. It’s been great to hear that they are having lots of fun and developing skills for their future along the way.”

Resilience and self-belief

To do their DofE, young people aged 14-24 choose activities in four sections: improving a Physical and Skills activity, Volunteering for a cause of their choice, and completing a demanding Expedition. Along the way they have fun, grow in resilience and self-belief, discover new talents and passions, and learn practical skills to help them in future – while working towards a highly respected Award.

King’s College Hospital is an Approved Activity Provider (AAP) for the DofE – one of over 470 in the UK – allowing DofE participants to work towards their DofE Award on site. Between 2022-23, DofE participants volunteering with AAPs contributed an incredible £1.6 million in paid equivalent hours.

Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse & Executive Director of Midwifery at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Volunteers play a vital role in supporting our teams here at King’s, including offering conversation and companionship to patients on our wards, which really helps people have a positive experience during their stay.

“It’s wonderful that our volunteers tell us they receive so much in return; from vital career-enhancing experiences to the opportunity to stay socially active in retirement. It’s a wonderful partnership with the communities we serve for which we are very grateful.”

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