Hahaha – you have to take this stuff with a pinch of salt!
The stroke charity gave me a certificate yesteray for 100 hours voluntary work. I did say to the co-ordinator that the number was nonsense, but hey, it was just a bit of paper. In fairness, this woman has quite diligently recorded the time I’ve spent volunteering – since she joined last September! Her predecessors were a bit more variable. Certainly, going up to the hospital in the early days, I would go up to the hospital and not see another soul up there, apart obviously from the patients I visited. So, all-in-all, how anyone could even hazard a guess at how much time I’ve spent doing charity work is beyond me!
So I will try to hazard a guess myself. As a rule of thumb – I’ve been volunteering for approximately 3½ years. Every 2 weeks. So, that’s 91 visits. There have been a few times when I haven’t gone along, but not as many as you might think. If you think of an employee having 4-5 weeks off every 52, I’ve probably attended more regularly than that. We haven’t gone on holiday much these last couple of years, don’t forget.
So, let’s say 85 visits. Then it starts getting harder. For each visit, I leave the house at 1:20pm and get back at 5pm, so, just in terms of “time away from home”, that’s 3½ hours per visit. Easy! That works out to 300 hours. But, not all of that time is spent at the hospital, a lot of time is spent travelling to and from. These days, I’m there for up to 1½ hours at a time, so that would be 127.5 hours actually on the ward. But this time itself fluctuates. Yesterday I was up there nearly 2 hours, but 1½ is really my safe maximum. As yesterday, visits tend to take the maximum amount of time these days, I think because we target patients a bit better with the help of staff, and we tend to chat to each patient for longer. But certainly that was not always the case – there have been times when I must’ve been in and out in 20 minutes flat. Equally, the bus times used to be different so I was up at the hospital slightly longer than I am now. 85 visits at 20 minutes per visit is only 30 hours! So, what do we say? Somewhere between 30 and 130 hours actually on the ward, is my best guess – that’s a mighty big variation!. Time spent out of the house is a bit firmer, but you can’t really count travel time as “work”, can you? And, after all, when you’re donating your time anyway, does it really matter?