As the UK recently marked the national anniversary of the first lockdown, the volunteer team at Hospital Radio Plymouth have been reflecting on how they have continued to support patients and their families and friends.
“Not everyone realises we’ve been broadcasting from home since last March,” explains Keith Jolley, Chairman of HRP. “Our volunteers have been met by a number of challenges since the first lockdown – internet problems being one of the most common.”
Unable to work at their usual location at Bircham House due to social distancing regulations, the radio station volunteers were forced to set everything up from their homes, and have shown great dedication in sourcing equipment to allow the radio shows to continue.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a great group of people at HRP,” adds Keith. “Our volunteers are working incredibly hard and making sure we maintain our production levels in all areas. What’s more, they are determined to do their bit to help everyone stay positive in the fight to beat coronavirus.”
Despite being unable to personally visit the hospital wards due to visitor restrictions, the volunteer team have continued to engage with inpatients virtually to help them to feel connected to the outside world, collecting thousands of individual song requests since the start of the first lockdown. This has proved especially important while visiting has not been allowed, as Jo Carpenter, Audience Liaison Manager explains:
“Collecting requests from patients has made the world of difference. HRP has been a constant friend for anyone who needs it, throughout this pandemic, and will continue to do so, unconditionally. We are there for everyone, whether they might be celebrating their 100th birthday in hospital or for those who, perhaps for that one moment, need to know they have a voice and it will be heard.”
Jane Gilliam, Fundraising Officer for HRP and Staff Nurse on Birch Day Case Unit, adds: “I would definitely say that requests have helped to conquer loneliness. They have brought joy and happiness, and have helped to aid patients’ recovery. It has also been a huge morale boost when the team on Birch have all been singing along with our requests!”
In addition to regularly contacting wards at Derriford Hospital, the HRP team have also been engaging with local residential homes. Kathleen Shopland, Manager of Plymbridge House care home said: “We’re overjoyed to have a link to residents while they’re in hospital. It really brings a sense of closeness between residents and their friends and family, especially at a time when they are at risk of feeling alone.”
Having recently been shortlisted for a number of awards, and having won the Bronze award for Best Station Promotion, from the Hospital Broadcasting Association, it is clear that Covid-19 has certainly not dampened the spirits of those volunteering at HRP.
Find out more about HRP and listen live: https://www.hospitalradioplymouth.org.uk/