A life changing choice: from volunteer to porter

Submitted by Chris
Volunteer and Duty Manager

In these unprecedented times with people struggling to try and cope, there are stories of hope and adapting.

My story is that on returning from a couple years of volunteering and travelling in Asia – I’m 61 – I returned to the UK at the start of the pandemic.

Having previously been in the hospitality industry, lockdown made that impossible to return to. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I answered the NHS call for volunteers.

Firstly in Worthing as a volunteer then over to Brighton, as a bank porter.

When I started volunteering, I went from 20, 30 then 40 hours+. At the Royal Sussex County Hospital I was offered the chance to go full time.

Having seen how incredible the work the NHS does, I jumped at the chance. Being full time the training was more involved, and included working in different departments, including Covid wards.

A complete curve ball got me into a profession that was, for me, life changing.

I look forward to going into work every day and trying to make a difference. You get to know the longer stay patients. Nothing gives a porter more pride than taking a worried, nervous patient to a procedure or scan lifting their spirits and on returning them to the ward seeing a more relaxed smiling person.

I have now been promoted to the management team but still heavily involved on portering. I think we can all see that unemployment is going to be an issue and will probably get a lot worse, my message, look at the NHS for a lasting career change. I did with no regrets.

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