Celebrating our Dedicated and Caring Volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers’ Week (1st-7th June 2021), is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

Our team of over 170 volunteers are an integral part of Team KSS and make such a vital contribution in delivering our purpose of saving lives and ensuring the best possible outcomes from our patients.

From our committed trustees who provide invaluable support, encouragement and guidance, to our fundraising volunteers who help raise awareness and generate commitment to our cause by inspiring others, we owe you all our heartfelt thanks and praise.

A few of our volunteers have shared their experiences of what it’s like volunteering for our people centred charity, highlighting the fundamental role they play and why they enjoy being a part of Team KSS.

Roger Mitchell – Kent

“I retired in 2001 after working some 52 years in the print industry and before that the Rank Organisation. I found life without work and the long winter months very boring. My wife Hilda, who has volunteered with KSS for some 18 years, recommended that I became a volunteer. 

My first job, back in 2006, was in the office opening envelopes and inputting the cheques onto the computer. I then took the van out to collect the static boxes from all three counties, bringing the money back to be counted.

My main job now is the static boxes, which I collect from Snodland, East Malling, Maidstone, Coxheath and Peckham. Once a month I service the ten boxes at the BP Service Stations on the M25, with my very good colleague Paul Skelley. I also get involved in store collections and the selling of lottery tickets for the car draw. I’ll be very glad when these can restart again.

The main reason I volunteer is so that I can get out and meet some interesting people and build up a lot of trust with them. The public are very keen to hear all about KSS and what we stand for. 

I’ve always found the people of Team KSS to be very helpful and I really respect all of the teams. KSS is one charity that we need to support in every way possible, which is why I volunteer.”

Myra Baston – Surrey

“I began volunteering for KSS about four years ago after seeing an advert for KSS volunteers in my local parish magazine. I am a practicing physiotherapist and had seen the air ambulance land many times when I was doing locum work at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and was always impressed by what I saw. I went to an open day for prospective volunteers for the charity to learn more about KSS’s life-saving service and the need for ongoing funding. The rest, as they say, is history.  

My main role as a volunteer is to give talks to different groups of people to let them know about the incredible role of KSS in our local community and to encourage donations. I talk about KSS being a charity and needing to raise £15 million each year to be operational 24/7, how the air ambulance service differs from land ambulances, the incredible skills of the medical team in bringing an A&E service to the scene of an incident and the importance of being able to transport patients rapidly to trauma units.

I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I’m playing a role in helping KSS to raise vital funds and it is very rewarding to see the positive response that I get when giving the talks – most people are unaware that KSS is a charity or of the role it plays in our community. Volunteering for KSS takes me to places that I’d never normally go to and enables me to meet people who I otherwise wouldn’t meet. The regular communication from KSS and interaction with their team also makes me feel a valued member of their organisation. I also value the flexibility of being a KSS volunteer. KSS alerts its volunteers to different opportunities for talks and we select which sessions we can attend. This enables me to fit the volunteering around my job – there’s no requirement to do a fixed number of hours each month.”

Neil Sadler – Sussex

“I was a police officer in Sussex for 30 years and began volunteering for KSS when I retired. I really enjoy public speaking and my main role at KSS has been giving talks to different groups, such as the WI, Probus Clubs and the Inner Wheel, highlighting the incredible work of KSS, raising awareness of the fact that KSS is a charity, encouraging donations and alerting people to the range of volunteer opportunities that are available.

I’ve been volunteering for KSS for more than 12 years and during that time I have been to some amazing events and was even invited by KSS to meet Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal when she came to Sussex in February 2020 – I had the opportunity to talk to her about my role as a volunteer. I feel very proud to represent KSS. I’m always overwhelmed by the generosity of members of the public when I’m involved with collections – so many people have come up to me over the years to let me know that KSS helped to save the life of one of their friends, colleagues or family members.

I really enjoy volunteering; I love educating people about KSS and I take pride in the fact that I’m helping the charity by encouraging people to donate funds or to volunteer. I also like the social side. Being a volunteer has given me a chance to meet people and build friendships with people of all ages. KSS are very good at making you feel part of their team. We have volunteer coffee mornings and regular email updates from the CEO and other team members.  Some people from KSS even rang me up during lockdown to check that I was OK – they really didn’t need to do that but it made me feel valued for the role I play for them. I often talk to my retired friends about volunteering – it is something that I definitely recommend to people.”

Alan Barnes is a volunteer with his wife, Janet – Sussex

“Janet and I have been volunteering for KSS for 12 years. It began one bank holiday weekend when we were stuck in a long traffic jam caused by a car accident on the motorway. The ambulances struggled to get to the incident and Janet and I discussed how an air ambulance could reach the scene so much quicker. We talked about what an amazing service the air ambulance provides and decided that we would get involved by volunteering.

Over the years we have been involved in a wide range of volunteering activity, from selling raffle tickets to win a car through to helping with collection boxes at events such as horse riding and motorbike shows. Now, Janet and I have around 100 collection boxes that we are responsible for in the local area. We collect them from sites such as supermarkets, newsagents and cafes and transfer the money to KSS.

Many people don’t realise that KSS is a charity or that they do so much more than simply transport patients quickly to hospital. KSS has a highly specialised team and brings A&E to a site – no matter how remote. They can give blood, anaesthetise and perform procedures at the scene of an incident. It’s so important to raise funds for KSS, no one ever knows when they or a member of their family may need this service.

We are very proud of the role we play as volunteers for the charity to help with the fundraising and we feel very much part of the KSS community. We’ve made friends through volunteering and also are kept very well informed about the developments at KSS, which makes us feel valued members of the team.”

Volunteers' Week 2021 takes place 1st-7th June

Saving lives when every second counts

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