NEW mothers are receiving an extra helping hand from a ‘pink army’ of volunteers on maternity wards.
More than 20 maternity volunteers – recognisable in their bright pink t-shirts – now offer bedside support at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil and the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant.
Cwm Taf University Health Board introduced the role as additional support for mothers and ward staff, as well as work experience for the volunteers themselves.
Rachel Fielding, head of midwifery said:  “I am delighted with the enthusiasm and success of our maternity volunteers who are women of differing ages from our local community who approached us looking for such an opportunity.
“The volunteers are able to enhance the service the maternity team  provide offering company for new mums and assisting with tasks such as clearing trays, chatting to mums at their bedside, and help take care of the baby while mum eats her meal or needs to rest.
“Under the supervision of the midwife, the volunteers also run errands for the ward and conduct tours of the maternity unit, giving women and their partners the opportunity to visit the birthing environments while ensuring all clinical queries are directed to and are always the responsibility of the midwives.”
The supportive caring role requires volunteers to commit to working for four hours a week for 12 months.  The nature of the work experience opens up the opportunity for various career pathways, providing reference as required and also the knowledge gained is invaluable when enrolling on university courses.
A number of volunteers have gone on to train as midwives, while others are just wanting to ‘give a little something back’ having had their own experience within the maternity service.
One volunteer, Sarah Selway, 31, from Llanbradach said: “I applied for the volunteering role as I wanted to provide help to mothers who were pregnant or had given birth.
“I would like to be a midwife in the future and think this is an excellent chance for people wanting to gain experience and knowledge in this area.
“I am loving every minute of spending time with the mothers helping them as much as possible and providing help to the staff.”
The role of the volunteer within all areas of the health service is very much valued as they play an important part within the organisation and assist staff in their duties and also enhance the patient experience.
All volunteers follow strict guidance relating to identity, dress code and maintaining client confidentiality at all times and within maternity, they each have a comprehensive role description which ensures all members of the maternity team understand the purpose and clearly defined remit of the role.
There is one thing for sure – soon to be mum (and dads) in Cwm Taf can be assured that when the time comes, they will receive all the help and support they need, not just from the maternity clinical teams but from our amazing team of dedicated maternity volunteers.
Maternity buddies ‘In the pink’ help new mums