Local NHS Trusts and voluntary sector organisations across Norfolk and Waveney are appealing for willing volunteers to get involved and support their local community as services face increasing pressure over the winter period.
The Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS) is hosting a series of volunteer recruitment events this November for individuals to find out about current volunteering opportunities and hear about new developments where volunteers can support their local services from their own homes.
Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations from across Norfolk and Waveney have been instrumental in creating innovative ways of supporting volunteer recruitment and training over the past two years, making volunteering easier to access. Roles vary from patient facing roles in a busy hospital environment to new initiative digital roles which can be carried out entirely online.
People new to volunteering can now also gain skills and confidence through Voluntary Norfolk’s free Volunteer Passport supporting them to find the right role for them. For those individuals looking to join the NHS, an innovative new standardised induction session has been developed through a partnership of six local trusts and Voluntary Norfolk, to ensure a comprehensive and engaging session will be launched in November. Both options ensure that volunteers receive quality bespoke training so they can start their volunteering journey with confidence.
Volunteering offers a fantastic way to support health, social care and voluntary sector teams who are under increasing pressure to deliver the best possible care to patients and service users this winter. New recruits will be overseen and guided by clinical teams to support patients make a speedier recovery.
From across the system a range of roles are available, including:
- James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) who are looking for individuals who can help provide companionship, reassurance and refreshments for patients in their Accident and Emergency department.
- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) – Older People’s Medicine unit are looking for volunteers who can provide social interaction and enrichment for frail/elderly patients, and patients with dementia.
- Norwich Community Health and Care (NCH&C) – are looking for meet and greeters for patients who arrive on hospital sites offering a helpful and welcoming face at the reception, making a huge difference to those who are still anxious about COVID and the latest restrictions.
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn (QEH) – are looking for volunteers to help support patients in ward areas across the Trust. These varied roles include a variety of duties from supporting staff to helping patients complete menu cards and offering reassurance and comfort to those who need it.
Jackie Cushing, Locality Manager (West) for Community Action Norfolk, said:
“The brilliant work that VCSEs do in our communities is often made possible with the support of volunteers who want to help those organisations make a difference. However, voluntary sector organisations are telling us at Community Action Norfolk (CAN) that finding and retaining volunteers has become increasingly difficult in recent years with issues such as COVID-19, funding limitations, cost of living increases, spiralling demand, caring demands and impacts on individuals’ wellbeing all potentially playing a part.”
Hear from some of our Volunteers
Masa Duranovic, volunteers as a Meet and Greeter at NCH&C, a role which is delivered in partnership with Voluntary Norfolk. Masa, who joined in December 2020, works alongside nurses and members of staff to assist with day-to-day duties including welcoming patients and supporting them in the vaccination centres, taking temperatures and managing queues. She also assists with the arrival of international nurses who come to work within the Norfolk and Waveney system.
Masa said: “As someone who moved to the UK from Europe as a nurse, I would have really benefitted from a project like this, and I’m really pleased that I can be there for these new nurses.
“I have been helping these nurses find out about Norwich – the type of services and facilities that may help them and where to find local amenities. I’ve really enjoyed meeting and helping them, and it means a lot to me to be doing something which I know will make a difference.”
At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, volunteer Ros Virgo has been involved in a variety of volunteering initiatives, with her activities ranging from driving doctors and consultants to clinics across Norfolk to serving refreshments to expectant mothers in the maternity services.
Ros said: “When returning to volunteer after the COVID-19 lockdown, there were needs in other departments within the hospital. I now work one morning a week on the front desk in the main reception area. I absolutely love this role as it is very varied.
“My duties include directing patients, friends and families to different departments around the hospital, answering a wide range of enquiries. I also assist patients in wheelchairs to get to their appointments, organise taxis, dealing with lost property and generally greeting and chatting with people. Every day is different and very rewarding knowing you have helped someone.”
Health and social care organisations witnessed an increased response from local people volunteering their time and skills to help others during the start of the pandemic. However, more efforts will be required to offer valuable support throughout this winter and beyond.
To find out more about volunteering, please drop-in to one of these sessions:
- Wednesday 9 November 10.30am – 12.30pm at Blackfriars Room, St Andrews Hall, Norwich
- Thursday 17 November 10.30am – 12.30pm at King’s Lynn Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn PE30 5DQ
- Thursday 24 November, 10.30am – 12.30pm at Great Yarmouth Town Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QF
If you are unable to join us at one of the events and want to find out more volunteering opportunities across Norfolk and Suffolk, please visit:
For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07920285185.