01452 504989 or 0800 652 5193 (freephone) info@healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk

It’s Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June, so Healthwatch Gloucestershire is sending a huge ‘Thank You’ to the inspiring volunteers who help to make health and social care better for local people.

Over 50 volunteers currently support the work of Healthwatch Gloucestershire, making an important contribution to improving people’s experience of health and care in the county.

Volunteers help in a variety of ways, depending on their interests and the time they have available.  They gather people’s experiences and views of health and social care, they compile research to inform special projects, they visit services to make sure they are providing the right care and support, and they promote the work of Healthwatch.  The Healthwatch Readers Panel reviews and edits publications for local organisations to make sure they are easy to understand and helpful to members of the public, and members of the Healthwatch Board are also volunteers.  Meet some Healthwatch volunteers below.

Helen Webb, Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager said: “We recognise the enormous value of our volunteers every single day.  They help us reach out and connect with so many people and communities across the county, encouraging them to get involved and finding out what matters to them, so that we can build closer relationships between health and social care services and the communities they serve.  I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and to highlight the significant role they play in promoting patient engagement to help improve the quality of care.”

Healthwatch Gloucestershire Volunteer Officer, George Soars, works closely with the volunteers, coordinating and supporting their work.  He said: “Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do, they make such a difference.  Many of them are continuing to work remotely during the pandemic, while others are volunteering to support their local community.  I want to say thank you to all of our volunteers for their continued support, hard work and dedication, they are inspiring.”

Healthwatch Gloucestershire works with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, supporting them with training and development and out of pocket expenses.  They are keen to recruit new volunteers from across Gloucestershire and will find activities that suit you and your lifestyle.

To find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Gloucestershire call 0800 6525193, email volunteering@healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk or visit healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk/volunteering/

Meet some Healthwatch Gloucestershire volunteers

John: “I volunteer with Healthwatch Gloucestershire as a way of thanking the NHS for literally saving my life on two occasions when I had serious cardiac issues.  I enjoy knowing that I am making a difference to health and social care services in Gloucestershire.  My role is varied and can see me collecting people’s views at community events, attending strategic meetings for the NHS Fit for the Future programme, or doing Enter and View visits to talk to people about the services they are using.”

Deb: “I was looking for some volunteering work to build my confidence, when I learnt of Healthwatch Gloucestershire, I knew it was something I would like to get involved in.  I find the role varied, interesting, and also a bit of fun.  The team are supportive, and I have met a lot of new people.  My confidence has increased, and I have recently been involved with running focus groups which I found very interesting and enjoyable.”

Martin: “I left full time employment three years ago, and almost immediately became involved with Healthwatch Gloucestershire as a volunteer.  I have been heavily involved in working with the local university to interview their physiotherapy students as a lay person to represent the interests of potential users of physiotherapy services by healthcare professionals.  This really embeds patient involvement even before the students have been accepted onto their degree course.”

John: “Being a member of the Readers Panel enables me to have a say in the way important healthcare information is presented.  It also provides valuable insight into future plans for healthcare services and this allows me to respond more knowledgably to enquiries and concerns from the public who I meet when out and about in the community with Healthwatch Gloucestershire.”