National Volunteers’ Week provides an opportunity to reflect and say “thank you” to all volunteers as they continue to work tirelessly to support health and social care services across Norfolk and Waveney.
The celebration week will also recognise the valuable contribution volunteers have within both the health and social care sectors, as well as welcoming new recruits who have been inspired to start their volunteering journey.
Voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations from across Norfolk and Waveney have been instrumental in creating innovative ways of supporting volunteer opportunities for people and establishing long-term partnerships with the NHS. This includes providing volunteer opportunities that can benefit and develop volunteers such as; delivering food parcels or befriending individuals who are deemed lonely.
Volunteering can take many forms, and not all roles require a weekly commitment, and many are flexible. Many people volunteer to make a difference, wanting to give something back to support a charity or group which has made a difference in their lives, or the lives of those close to them. What is sometimes unexpected, is just how much the volunteer themselves can gain from their activities too.
Dom Potter started his volunteering journey at the trauma and orthopaedic ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
He said of his experience: “For me, the reward of giving your time for others without expecting anything in return is something that is incomparable with any other career. You can really create a connection with a patient when you chat to them and learning about their life experiences is truly inspiring and is what keeps me coming back.
“From volunteering, I have been able to use this experience to my advantage as the healthcare experience has helped me achieve a place at university to study adult nursing, and eventually, become a registered nurse and hopefully progress to becoming a senior nurse consultant or an advanced care practitioner.”
Sophie Hart originally started volunteering at Norfolk Community Health & Care in 2018. Her first volunteer role was admin support for the community neurology team.
Sophie said: “When I was made redundant from my retail job during the first COVID lockdown I was able to find bank administration work at the local hospital. A permanent job then became available at NCH&C for admin support / receptionist, and I am pleased to say I have been working in that post for the past year. Volunteering for NCH&C helped with my application and interview, as I already knew how the clinics operated and had an insight into the Trust and its values.”
Volunteers are the life blood of our communities, who continue to go above and beyond in supporting health and social care services across acute, community and social care services.
Jules Alderson, Workforce Transformation Volunteering Programme Manager, NHS Norfolk and Waveney said: “Volunteers across Norfolk and Waveney continue to make a significant difference to the health and wellbeing of our patients, their loved ones, staff and our wider community. From the volunteers in our hospitals, to those volunteering in their local communities, we extend our heartfelt thanks.
“As we move forward, we are looking forward to building on our ambition to champion the importance of volunteering and the impact it has on all. This will be enhanced by new ways of working and connecting to people including more online-based volunteering activities, and partnerships between our local NHS and voluntary sector organisations.”
Over in east Norfolk, Voluntary Norfolk is recruiting for Social Support Volunteers at Beccles hospital and Community Health and Wellbeing Volunteers to support East Coast Community Healthcare.
Social Support Volunteers at Beccles hospital provide companionship and support to patients on the ward at Beccles Hospital, giving patients the opportunity to chat with someone or to get involved in a shared activity such as a game, jigsaw or craft. The role involves engaging with the patients on the ward and provide basic practical support to staff.
Community Health and Wellbeing Volunteershelp people get back on their feet after an illness or injury. This might involve providing someone with companionship and conversation, accompanying them out for short walks, driving them out to attend an activity, or offering practical support such as helping with laundry or light cleaning around the home. Voluntary Norfolk need volunteers to join their bank of community-based volunteers in the Lowestoft and the Great Yarmouth areas to respond to requests for this type of support.
If you think one of these roles might be for you, please email: email@example.com for more details or apply online via the website MyImpactPage – Application Form – ECCH Volunteer Service (betterimpact.com).