1st – 7th June is Volunteers Week! To celebrate, we will be showcasing a series of videos on our social media throughout the week, to highlight the great work our volunteers do and the difference they make to their community.
More than 50 volunteers currently offer their time to Healthwatch Essex in our work to make health and care services meet the needs of local people.
They are regularly out talking and listening to people in the community, finding out what is good and what could be improved about local health and care services. They are often found at community events, but also visit the services themselves to speak to patients and gather their views.
Volunteers also give advice and information about the NHS and social care services to the public, as well as provide vital behind-the-scenes support in roles like admin work.
By helping people have their say about NHS and local health and social care services, volunteers at Healthwatch Essex donated hours of their time last year and have been involved in numerous projects including:
- Learning Disability Ambassadors helped shape the the Living Well Essex website to ensure it is user friendly.
- Cancer Patient Partners had input into the improvements and development of Macmillan support pods at Basildon & Mid-Essex hospitals in addition to attending Anglia Ruskin University nurse curriculum planning to give their views on what behaviours and standards should be sought after in future students.
- Maternity Patient Partners are co-designing the new personal care plans for women and undertaking user testing on new apps which will deliver personalised advice to pregnant women across Mid and South Essex.
They are also part of a network of more than 5,000 people who are involved with Healthwatch across the country.
Dr. David Sollis, Healthwatch Essex CEO, said: “Healthwatch Essex volunteer ambassadors are simply an inspiring group of people who have shared their lived experience with us which allows us to improve the lives of many people in Essex around health and social care. I would like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers, our board, our ambassadors and our colleagues from other charities who give up their precious time for the greater good.”
Cheryl Huggins, Volunteer & Engagement Officer at Healthwatch Essex, said: “Involving the people of Essex in the design of health and social care services locally is crucial to ensuring that we understand what people’s needs are, and how they can be more closely met. Using their lived experience to inform and assist in the creation of new and improved services not only empowers those who choose to participate and enables their voice to be heard, but also encourages a more effective use of resources to deliver a wholesome service, taking in account a wider perspective.”
All volunteers with Healthwatch Essex are given a comprehensive ambassador handbook and log-in to an online portal to access participation opportunities, as well as receive Active Listening training. Dependent on project, stakeholders are also encouraged to provide training to our volunteers, to familiarise themselves with the environment that they will be working in. Out of pocket expenses are also reimbursed.
To find out more about volunteering with us and to be notified of upcoming opportunities, email [email protected].
If you are unable to volunteer, you can still make a difference by sharing your experiences of health and social care services in Essex with us. No matter how big or small, we want to hear about it. Click here to share your experience or call 0300 500 1895 to speak to our Information & Signposting Team confidentially.