Volunteer Olivia Hesketh

Tell us a little about yourself
I'm 17 years old and I've been living in Eglinton for the past 8 years. I'm in Lower Sixth and attend Limavady Grammar school where I study Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. I've been volunteering in Altnagelvin since December last year and also volunteer at 1st Faughanvale Brownies weekly.

I really want to study medicine at university and I'm applying next year but I'm slightly disappointed that I had to give up Art after GCSE level to be able to study relevant subjects, I love Art! I painted murals in my school over the summer after being asked and keep it up as a hobby but I can't pretend that I wouldn't give it up to be a doctor.

I'm in the middle of my exams at the moment but I'm looking forward to my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Assessment hike in the Lake District in late June, it's getting me through them!

Where do you volunteer?
I volunteer in Ward 31 in Altnagelvin hospital.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer? 
Two reasons really; firstly I've enjoyed volunteer work that I participated in previously and volunteering in Altnagelvin seemed like a particularly worthwhile thing to do, especially in a ward as busy as Ward 31.

I'm interested in pursuing a career in medicine too so I hoped that work in hospital surroundings would give me good experience for a future career and also help me see what to expect if I ever do become a doctor.

Initially I started volunteering at the rainbow re-homing centre a few years ago for my Duke of Edinburgh's Award and I've kept up various volunteer roles since.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering? 
In Altnagelvin, the best part of my role is definitely being able to sit down and chat with the patients in the ward; it's really nice being able to keep them company. I volunteer pretty early in the morning so not everyone always wants to chat first thing but being able to fetch things for the patients around their rooms and ordering their meals for them makes me feel like my role is worthwhile.

Would you encourage others to volunteer with the Western Trust? 
Definitely; it's a brilliant experience, especially for people interested in a medical or nursing career and you never feel like you're wasting your time. There's always something useful for you to do and the ward's employees are always grateful to have extra help.