A VOLUNTEER-run service that transformed the lives of thousands of hospital patients in Glasgow throughout Covid-19 has ended.

The initiative, named Give and Go, allowed families and friends to hand in items of comfort to hospitals while their loved ones were being treated. 

During the pandemic, the service delivered more than 3000 personal bags to patients across the health board - allowing them to have a taste of home when they were unable to see their families. 

“We can’t thank them enough,” said Harry Balch, Volunteer Manager with NHSGGC.

“Since the service started, these amazing people have come in and put themselves on the front line, even at the height of the second wave and during the worst of weather, to deliver this vital service.

“Their selflessness has been such an inspiration to us all. I know it sounds cheesy, but they are our superheroes.”

Around 330 volunteers have been involved in the service, collecting and delivering personal items such as toiletries, snacks, mobile phones and iPads, books and clothing.

The volunteers’ red T-shirts quickly became a trademark, and patients really looked forward to seeing if the volunteers had a parcel for them.

“The bags families left with us really were packages of love,” said Harry Balch.

“We’d get messages saying ‘my dad really loves this particular make of fudge, can you make sure he gets it,’ or ‘I’ve made my mum her favourite tuna sandwich, can you deliver it while it’s fresh’.

“While some of the deliveries were very strange, and unforgettable, it was the little, everyday things – the clean jammies, or the special box of chocolates – that made a difference.”

Margaret Connolly, Assistant Chief Nurse at NHSGGC, who helped roll out the initiative across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Give and Go played a crucial role in helping us continue to deliver person-centred, compassionate care to patients in the midst of the pandemic.

“The feedback has been wonderful, and it’s brought a smile to thousands of patients in hospital. The Give and Go service couldn’t replace visits from loved ones, but it did go a long way to making patients feel more comfortable during their hospital stay.

“I’d like to thank all the volunteers, staff and volunteer managers who have been involved in the delivery of this vital service, which has proven so valuable to so many.”