Dr. Gray’s Hospital in Elgin is sounding different. There are days now when the noise of all its comings and goings, of all the conversations and movement fade into the background, and the music of a solo harp can be heard.
This change in sound and tone is thanks to volunteer Fiona Kyle, who, one day, took her harp and played it in the hospital foyer.
She wasn’t sure if people would take notice. They did. Big time. Now she regularly plays her harp on the wards and in the hospital, much to the delight of hospital patients, staff and visitors alike.
It took a while for Fiona to find to her dream volunteer role. Fiona is a long standing volunteer – who has volunteered for years with many community organisations. She’s a volunteering guru, with a background in social work, and has volunteered throughout her entire life.
She wanted to have a change in her volunteering and came to tsiMORAY to make the change. She was referred to two organisations. ‘Unfortunately they did not come to fruition. There were problems with disclosures which took ages…’ and for another opportunity, training was fulfilled, but ‘things just slipped’ with the organisation which meant a long delay to start volunteering.
‘It’s great to recruit volunteers but you actually have to keep them too. Sometimes organisations keep expanding services, but don’t have volunteers to cover the bases…’. There's an acknowledgement that when organisations become busy, the time needed to onboard volunteers properly, can seem overwhelming, however those that do take the time to work with volunteers benefit enormously.
Fiona took the time in between volunteer roles to figure out what she really wanted to do. She knew her music needed to be part of it. She asked around and eventually met with a hospital employee at Dr Gray's who said yes to her foyer experiment.
Her break from volunteering and her new volunteering role has also given Fiona the time and experience to progress other ideas – including exploring further training for harp healing, sound baths and angelic reiki to compliment her part-time business, Inspirational Harping.
Fiona’s approach to volunteering mirrors the Scottish Government’s new National Framework for Volunteering, which recognises that people will dip in and out of volunteering, will change roles and will be motivated differently according to our life stages.
Fiona is surprised when we call her a volunteer guru. But she shares wise words. ‘We have to look after ourselves as volunteers. I know what dissatisfaction feels like in volunteering and I know that I can change that…unlike a job, you have lots of freedom and choices.’
Thank you Fiona for all your volunteering, for sharing your thoughts and insights, and for sharing your music. We are listening!
If you manage volunteers and need more support to do so, consider joining the Moray Volunteer Managers Network, an informal network, hosted by tsiMORAY, with regular meetings.