Focus on: Fremah Yaa, meet and greet volunteer

Fremah Yaa returned to her role as a meet and greet volunteer five weeks ago and is still getting used to working with far fewer colleagues than usual.

“Because many volunteers haven’t yet come back and I’m used to us having so many, it was strange. But in some ways it’s lovely because patients are so pleased to see us at the moment. They’re not expecting us to be around.”

Fremah, who works as a teaching assistant four days a week and then volunteers on Fridays, was inspired to join the RFC in 2017 after she was looked after by a volunteer.

“It was when I arrived for an x-ray and realised I didn’t know how to use the check-in machine. A volunteer approached me and offered to help book me in and it was so nice. While I was waiting I was watching the volunteers and thought ‘I’d like to do that.’”

She gets most satisfaction from “being in the right place at the right time”. Recently a woman with a knee fracture arrived in reception and couldn’t find anywhere to sit. “I went to a nearby office and asked for a chair and the member of staff was very kind and even brought a chair himself. It’s little things like that which make me wonder what would have happened to her if I hadn’t been there.”

Fremah, who came to the UK from Ghana as a teenager, has three grown-up children and a four-year-old grandson but still finds time to also volunteer at her church, visiting parishioners, and to support a food bank.

She sometimes feels frustrated at the limits of what she can do. “Sometimes you give some initial help, like directions, but then you realise that a patient might face more hurdles ahead and I would ideally have loved to be able to go with them to assist them to ensure that they are able to complete their appointment with ease.

“But if I leave my post, how many other people won’t get the help they need?”