Volunteer champion bows out after three decades of NHS service

Published on: 10th March 2017

After over 32 years in the NHS, Volunteer Services Manager Rob Kendrick has retired from LPFT.

Rob (64), from Metheringham, near Lincoln, was one of the longest serving volunteer managers in the country and started working for the NHS back in 1984 at Rauceby Hospital, near Sleaford, where he first developed the volunteer service, bringing in new ideas and expanding it into community projects across south Lincolnshire.

During his time with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust he served on Department of Health advisory panels, set up small mental health charities supporting Trust units in Spalding, Skegness and Grantham, was involved with the establishment of the Rural Stress Network and introduced the ever popular ‘Pets As Therapy’ (PAT cats and dogs) service into local teams.

Pets As Therapy were originally introduced on the wards for patients who had to leave their pets at home, 

said Rob.

But we found that on older adult wards dogs unlocked memories of the pets they once owned and it generated conversations with the volunteers and staff.  Research showed, and continues to show, that contact with animals is beneficial for all patients, not just older adults.

Rob estimates that he must have interviewed around 1,000 volunteer applicants, from all walks of life and every occupation, admitting he'll miss working alongside them and the inspirational affect they can have on service users.

Working with volunteers is a unique job in the NHS and one which is very rewarding,

added Rob.

Our volunteers, some of whom are current or former service users, contribute so much for the benefit of others. It’s always great to hear from a volunteer saying how much they have valued the experience and in some cases how it has helped them secure a job, college place or helped boost their own confidence.  They are ambassadors for the Trust and for mental health and learning disability services which is very gratifying.  Through my work I hope I helped in some small way to support service users and reduce the stigma of mental ill health. It’s been great to work with some very supportive colleagues and partner organisations.

Rob added:

I'd like to say a sincere 'thank you' to everyone - colleagues, volunteers and service users who have sent cards, gifts and messages.  It's been very touching to read the very kind messages from across the Trust and beyond

Rob, who serves as a Councillor for Metheringham with North Kesteven District Council, is now looking forward to spending more time in his ‘man cave’ at home and indulging in the other great passions in his life - reading, painting and drawing.


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