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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Celebrations for two finalists in the 2024 Unsung Hero Awards

Unsung Hero Awards 2024

The volunteer services team left and Alana Ricketts right

Colleagues at Northampton General Hospital have been shortlisted for two national Unsung Hero Awards, which celebrate the contributions made by non-medical, non-clinical NHS staff and volunteers.

Alana Ricketts, who works as a Restaurant Food Service Assistant, has been named as a finalist in the Estates and Ancillary Individual Award category.

She was nominated for her kindness and compassion shown to a visitor who had been in the hospital daily to visit a loved one. She took the time to speak to them about what was going on in their life and supported them during a difficult time. She had also asked her colleagues to also check in on the visitor and so everyday someone from the team would check in with them.

One day during their regular chats, she presented them with a handwritten card and a small gift to boost their spirits. Alana went above and beyond her job description, demonstrating compassion, empathy, and kindness for the patient and their loved one. Feeling so touched by this gesture, Alana’s manager received a letter from the visitor to praise and thank her for the kindness she showed for someone she barely knew.

Alana said: “I was very shocked at first, I think in this job you don’t expect to make such a different to people’s day, but when I heard about the letter congratulating me and showing appreciation, I just didn’t expect it I was very shocked. It was nice and feels rewarding to know I’ve made a difference”.

Alongside Alana, our Volunteer Services team are also finalists in the Corporate Services category,. They were nominated for their work to support hospital volunteers and contribute towards a positive experience for volunteers while enhancing patient experience.

Managing 370 volunteers, the team provide daily support for them and constantly manage competing demands for the volunteer time and resource. They provide care and support to volunteers throughout their journey from application to placement and strive to come up with new initiatives, support change and enhance the experience for our patients, volunteers, and colleagues.

As well as managing the service day to day, the team have made a huge impact locally on supporting people to gain new life experiences and work experience and making volunteering accessible. This includes work to ensure all roles are adaptable to suit individual needs and provide opportunities to make volunteers feel welcome and valued.

They have worked with local charities and organisations, such as Mencap, to support people to get into volunteering who may not always be given the opportunities and confidence to volunteer. They help people based on their individual needs and in some cases even support volunteers to use their voluntary experience to progress into paid role in the hospital.

Emma Wimpress, Head of Volunteer Services said: “The team work tirelessly to put the needs of patients, visitors, and staff first. They strive to make a difference to the experience of others; albeit when people are visiting the hospital or lonely and isolated and need a friendly face. Whilst our volunteers are amazing and we are eternally grateful for their contribution, without the driving force of volunteer services team we would not be able to achieve a fraction of what they do. The team are innovative and fearless in their approach, and I am so proud to see them gaining the recognition they deserve”.

Palmer Winstanley, Acting Chief Executive at Northampton General said: “We’re really proud of Alana and our Volunteer Services team for getting to the finals of the Unsung Hero awards. Being shortlisted is a huge achievement and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate some of those teams and people who may not always receive recognition for their contribution to the hospital. Every single colleague in the hospital impacts on the experience of our patients and visitors so it’s especially important to take the time to celebrate these achievements.

“This national recognition is so well deserved, and we are looking forward to cheering them on and finding out who the winners are on the 15th March”.

The awards take place in Manchester on Friday 15 March. You can find out more about the awards on the Unsung Hero Awards website:

Posted on Monday 11th March 2024
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