Marathon volunteering effort earns badges of honour

Volunteers who have clocked up an incredible 5,500 hours helping Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital in its fight against Covid-19 have been formally recognised for their efforts.

St Jophn badge presentation

The team of 25 St John volunteers were presented with commemorative badges last week in recognition of their work in the Emergency Department and Urgent Treatment Centre.

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The volunteers, aged 18 and over, are all trained first aiders but underwent a dedicated two-day Covid course with St John before joining the hospital where they received an induction covering aspects including infection control.

They work on a rota basis covering five shifts per 24 hour period, often doing stints of eight to ten hours. There is no clinical responsibility for patients, but they undertake a myriad of other essential tasks that would otherwise be done by busy staff.

That includes taking responsibility for PPE stock and ensuring the right equipment is in the right place at the right time. They work closely with the patient flow navigator (PFN) and the nurse in charge (NIC) and answer bleep requests, which usually relate to patient transfer to X-ray, CT, MRI, or on to wards.

The volunteers, who regularly take 16000-20000 steps per shift, also help with the feeding of patients, distributing drinks, collecting items for patients, and keeping them company at a time when they may feel scared or lonely due to visiting restrictions.

In return they polish skills like communication and empathy and learn from teams working in a highly pressured and dynamic environment.

David said: “The pin badges are in recognition of the massive part the volunteers have played since the start of the pandemic and the important role they have going forwards.

“No-one can predict what the next few months are going to be like and it is reassuring to know that this dedicated team will be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our own staff to support patients in their time of need.”

The badges were funded thanks to support from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and Sodexo which has stepped up fundraising to help fight the pandemic.

Annie Moreham from Sodexo added: “Our Sodexo team in Cambridge heard through ACT about the fantastic work the volunteers have done throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We wanted to donate a souvenir pin badge to each member of the team to thank them for making such an outstanding contribution to the hospital and our local community.’

Anyone interested in joining St John Ambulance can find more details at


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