Salisbury Foundation Trust

Volunteers at its Heart – Specially Commissioned Work for NHS 75th Anniversary Service

The special service being held by Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and Salisbury Cathedral to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS and 80 years since the US Army opened a hospital in Odstock will include a reading of a commissioned work by playwright Paula B Stanic. Paula’s work was featured at the ‘We Reflect’ service held at the Cathedral in March 2022.

In creating this piece, Paula was particularly interested in the volunteers who work in different roles around the hospital. She said, “After some lively talks with staff and helpers at Radio Odstock, I was inspired to write a piece mixing created text and verbatim - with the volunteers at its heart. “ In the piece, three characters, Eli, a hospital archivist, Alex, a hospital radio presenter, and Jesse, a volunteer ward support volunteer/Ward Buddy, discuss their experiences and stories of other volunteers they knew. Here is an excerpt of Alex speaking about Odstock Radio:

“I explain to our visitors, we’re run by people who love the radio, love music or what this does. They do this alongside full or part time work. I see visitors’ expressions change, they realise the value. And no one wants thanks. But it is something when someone respects the value. Our hospital radio station has been running for seventy years by people recognising that, sharing their love and having fun.”

The service will begin at 5:30pm on Monday 26th June. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and join health and social care staff and volunteers to celebrate this significant milestone of our National Health Service, which was founded on 5th July in 1948. It will be an ecumenical service, open to all communities in South Wiltshire, North and East Dorset and South West Hampshire, and a warm welcome will be given to all faiths and those with none. It will also celebrate the closing of the city centre Infirmary and opening of Salisbury District Hospital 30 years ago, and the 70th anniversary of Radio Odstock, the hospital’s radio station, which is run by volunteers.

Led by the Dean and Cathedral clergy, with members of the Trust’s Chaplaincy, the service will include choir music, as well as the readings of Paula’s prose and specially commissioned poetry by the Trust’s Poet in Residence, Martin Figura, evoking the history of the NHS in the community, and the experiences of patients over the years.

15 June 2023

Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

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