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A man wearing a green t-shirt smiles. He’s stood in front of St James Hospital.

Mike Sandford – Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)

“Rewarding, thought provoking, challenging”

Mike volunteers within St James’ hospital as a part of the Leeds Way Welcome team. He spends time greeting and directing patients as they enter and navigate around the hospital. But as Mike told me his role does a lot more than simple directions. Mike’s interactions with people can be fleeting, offering directions within the hospital wing, or they can go further. Mike described situations in which he spends longer with patients and as part of this becomes a crucial ear to those who need some kindness and a calm voice as they navigate their hospital visit physically and emotionally.This image says “As long as someone looks at me and says thank you very much, I’m happy with that level of impact”

Mike’s volunteering is motivated by the interactions he has with patients. He joked with me about his ‘pay packet’ being the moment someone takes his hand in theirs and says “thank you very much indeed”, these moments alongside the occasional hug show Mike that what he’s doing matters and he’s meeting his aim of making people’s stress laden visits to the hospital a little bit easier.

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