Best For You

Text reads: A volunteer shift in the life of Mooskan. There‘s a photo of Mooskan (a young woman with long, dark hair) in a polaroid-style frame with a paperclip. The background fades from light to darker blue.

Many young people find being in hospital incredibly isolating. They told us that they wanted to be supported by people they could relate to – people who speak like them and have similar backgrounds.

Best For You Volunteers make a world of difference for young people on the wards and their family and friends. Their roles are varied – in a typical shift, they might support young people to use the Best For You app library, help them access activities, or provide a listening ear, for example.

Mooskan Gul, Best For You Volunteer, spends a few hours each week supporting young people at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She kept a note of her experiences during her first shift, to tell the world how volunteers are making a difference.

Mooskan’s first shift

6.00am I wake up after (surprisingly) only snoozing the alarm five times… then I get out of bed before I fall asleep again! I get ready pretty fast and head out to the station by 7am.

8.30am After trying not to fall asleep on the train, I go into the hospital, get changed into my volunteer t-shirt, and prepare for my shift.

9.00am My shift’s begun! It’s my first solo shift, so someone takes me to the ward and introduces me to the staff. We have a quick handover meeting – they’re so patient with me and take their time to explain how the wards and all of the different spaces work. They make sure I’m happy with everything before I start, which I really appreciate.

10.00am I get stuck in and familiarise myself with the staff, the ward, and some patients. At first, it’s quite challenging to put myself out there and talk to the patients and their families… but I go for it and it turns out to be a great learning experience.

11.00am I get chatting to a teenage girl – she doesn’t want to speak for long, but it’s good to hear some positive feedback on the hospital. The best thing about chatting to slightly older young people is that I get to hear from them directly, rather than through their parents.

11.30am The staff ask me to take some children to the playroom, so I spend some time with them there. Afterwards, I go round and see if any other patients need anything – colouring sheets are in high demand!

12.30pm Things start to slow down as the patients begin to have their lunches. I take the chance to get to know the staff I’ve been working with – they ask me why I want to volunteer. They want to help me get the most out of the experience, which is great. I check that there’s nothing else I can do before my shift ends, then say goodbye to everyone on the ward.

13.00pm I leave the hospital with a full heart – but an empty stomach. I’m in desperate need for some lunch, but really enjoyed my first shift. I can’t wait to come back next week!