01 June, 2021
Colostomy UK can trace its beginnings to the early 1960s, when a surgical registrar in a London hospital, recognising the therapeutic value of human contact, approached an ostomate and asked if she would visit his colostomy patients on the wards. It quickly became clear that her visits encouraged recovery. She provided the reassurance that patients needed and living proof that it was possible to lead an active life after stoma surgery. Shortly afterwards the Colostomy Welfare group was formed which, after several name changes, became Colostomy UK in 2017.
Colostomy UK was therefore founded on the outcome of study that showed peer-to-peer experience-based support is of great benefit to people with stomas. Unsurprisingly, it has meant that we have developed as a volunteer-centred charity. From those humble beginnings in London, we now have volunteer representation across the UK. With volunteers being so integral to everything we do, we are saying a HUGE THANK YOU to our volunteers during Volunteers Week.
Just as they did 50 years ago, our volunteers figure prominently in everything we do. It is largely thanks to them that we are able to provide quality support to ostomates and their families on a consistent basis. Our volunteers are dedicated bunch, who carry out all sorts of roles. They answer the phone on our 24-hour Stoma Helpline. They attend events and gives presentations for us. They help with the production of Tidings, our quarterly magazine, doing everything from writing articles to proof reading before we go to print. Volunteers also contribute to and advise on our popular range of support literature. They help us to run our private Facebook Support Group and, finally, our board of trustees are all volunteers!
As with many other charities and organisations we found 2020 difficult. But thanks to our volunteers, we didn’t have to face the challenges thrown up by the pandemic alone. They gave up their time willingly. This allowed us to keep providing, without interruption, all of our support services. Indeed, we were even able to add new ways of helping people, with the launch of our telephone befriending service and ‘Live’ chat on our website. Our volunteers were also game when it came to embracing new technology. In 2020 we moved all our volunteer training into the virtual world and yes, you guessed it, volunteers helped us to deliver this as well.
On behalf of Colostomy UK please raise your glasses to our team of volunteers!