Simon’s Volunteer Story
Simon is a Volunteer Radio Presenter with HWD Hospital Radio.
HWD is an award-winning radio station for patients and staff in Dewsbury and District Hospital in West Yorkshire.
“As a youngster, I never really had a hobby. I was one of those who used to get picked last in school sports games so didn’t aspire to play football, rugby or cricket…but I was into listening to music.
Like most budding radio presenters, I used to get together all the records in the house and imagine I had my own radio station powered by the medium of my dad’s stereo! So I was thrilled to be allowed to do this with some proper equipment in my early teens on hospital radio. In those days we were ‘confined’ to the attic in Batley Hospital, but today we have a studio to be proud of.
It was the mother of a friend who first suggested hospital radio as perhaps a way into journalism – which went on to become my chosen career. I was quite a shy person and the behind-the-mic exposure certainly helped me come out of my shell in those early days.
I’m now 50 and still doing it, albeit my musical tastes have changed radically, as has my outlook as to why I put in the time and effort each week. The experience and knowledge I gained has helped me to get involved in a number of radio projects over the years, but when I moved back to this area in the early 2000s I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with once again.
A couple of years ago, the Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA) commissioned an independent piece of research into the impact of hospital broadcasting on health outcomes for patients. This revealed that hospital radio stations help to reduce boredom, loneliness and anxiety and create a sense of belonging.
For me, volunteering for HWD Hospital Radio gives me a sense of achievement and knowing that I’m – hopefully – helping patients to recover faster by giving them a link to the outside world, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic when they are unable to receive visitors in the form of friends and family.
During the pandemic, we don’t get as much interaction directly with patients as ward visiting isn’t allowed, but hopefully that may change as the months progress. All our volunteers have had to play their part by ensuring our station equipment is kept clean, social distancing measures are in place (especially during hand-overs between shows) and we practice good hand hygiene – things which seem to work like clockwork now, as we’ve been doing it for so long.
Not only do I present a weekly rock show on HWD Hospital Radio but I also have the chance to put my other skills to good use through building and maintaining the station’s website, which has now become vital to the way we broadcast these days – it’s all online. I’m also responsible for publicising the station through the local press and designing the publicity material you see around the hospitals, like our magazine and bedside stickers. This is something tangible which again helps boost my sense of achievement.
“Giving” is one of the tried and tested 5 Ways to Wellbeing and it certainly helps my wellbeing, knowing that I’m playing my part in giving something back to the local community through my volunteering work.
Oh and here’s a quick plug. We’re always looking for new volunteers to get involved, whether it’s behind the microphone or in the background making sure everything goes smoothly.
If you’re interested, take a look at our website and drop us a line. https://www.hwdhospitalradio.com/contactvolunteer.shtml