Suzanne Tobin – Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT)
“Aspirational, satisfying, needed”
“There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone smile when you’ve helped” – Suzanne is a volunteer coordinator, who began her career by volunteering for Leeds Bosom Buddies. They run hospital support and peer support groups for people who have just given birth. Their volunteering begins in the hospital where they work in the wards, going round to spend time with new mothers and offer support for mothers feeding their baby. They offer the chance to be listened to at an incredibly vulnerable time, because time is what they have, unlike hospital staff volunteers have more time to spend and talk with the new mothers.
Suzanne told me a story of women coming up to them and sharing their grief and experience of 50 years prior, when running a publicity booth. She told me how through this encounter she learnt how important it is to listen to people, so they don’t have to hold things in for the next 50 years.
Suzanne and her volunteers see people when they’re going through tough times, when they’re scared upset and in pain, but with their help the women can leave smiling. This for Suzanne offers both those supported and the volunteers themselves a sense of empowerment and satisfaction for helping someone or achieving a goal.