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Past and present members of the Friends of the Emergency Department team celebrated 20 years of patient support in October. Now, they’re looking for new members to join the team. Photo: SUPPLIED

Friendly faces needed

Hato Hone St John is seeking 10 sensitive, friendly and caring individuals to join the Friends of the Emergency Department volunteer programme at Thames Hospital. 

The service provides support to the emergency department, with volunteers offering comfort and a friendly face to patients and family members in what is often a stressful situation. While duties can include assisting with making beds, serving cups of tea or providing information, for most patients, the value of the volunteers is in their company. 

“It’s a non-clinical role; they’re in there just supporting patients, family, friends who might just need someone to talk to,” community engagement coordinator Nikki Tyrrell-Baxter said. 

“Just supporting the people who are up there and helping them take their mind off their troubles.” 

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Potential applicants should have excellent communication skills, be compassionate and sensitive towards medical issues, and be physically fit as the role requires a lot of walking. Their required commitment is a four hour shift once a week or fortnightly. Clinical experience is not needed, and full training is provided along with ongoing support from St John. 

“It’s a real team environment,” Nikki said. 

“It has a lot of self-reward, just helping people.” 

DETAILS: For more information call Lesley on 027 632 3115 or visit