Read our Volunteer’s stories about why they volunteer for Healthwatch Staffordshire
I have been retired now for three years and one of the first things I wanted to do was to do Voluntary work – not as easy as you would imagine! I found Healthwatch to be a very professional organisation that satisfied my needs. As a retired teacher I wanted to use my previous skills – observation, communication, writing reports and meeting people. In addition, Healthwatch offered training and you do feel part of a team and undertaking a worthwhile role in the community.
As an Enter and View Volunteer I have learnt not to have pre-conceived ideas. Before entering an establishment I read reports about the Residential Home, which originally influenced my judgement. My experience has shown that the majority of care homes are well run with superb staff. In fact, what you see is a snapshot of the life of a care home on one day. It is apparent very quickly which homes are well run and those which need a little more work, to make them a better environment for the residents. You need to tread carefully but most places welcome your visit and are interested in your feedback. The bottom line when visiting is ‘Would I be happy to be a resident in this establishment, if I could no longer look after myself at home?’ I would highly recommend this volunteer role and there are many more opportunities to do further tasks for Healthwatch.
Julie, Healthwatch Staffordshire Volunteer and Authorised Representative
I joined Healthwatch in the spring of 2013 and completed training with them to become an Authorised Representative in September 2013. I had recently retired from Staffordshire County Council Social Care and Health Team specialising in adult care and felt my background gave me an insight into the experiences of residents, families and staff working in Care Homes.
This is such an important aspect of our lives, we will all, god willing, become old and increasingly in need of assistance to live a comfortable life and I knew from my career background that the gigantic move from one’s own property into a Care Home setting needed careful and sensitive handling as this was more than likely going to be the last move you would make. This is why the role of an authorised representative, as part of the Enter & View programme, is so vital as it enables them to look into the personal aspects of the care provided to our most vulnerable group, some of whom do not have anyone else to do this for them
This is a role within Healthwatch that I would recommend to any of the volunteers as there is, unfortunately, not always enough of us to do as much as we would like of this valuable and rewarding work.
Glenys, Healthwatch Staffordshire Volunteer and Authorised Representative
I volunteered for Healthwatch because, as a Health and Social Care Degree student with Wolverhampton University I have been learning all about the Francis Report in relation to Stafford Hospital and the recommendations which came out of it. I believe that Healthwatch is a valuable “ears & eyes on the ground” tool for ordinary people to get their voices heard and feel that the funding of local Healthwatch is vitally important. I was only involved in one Healthwatch project before the lockdown set in but I’m looking forward to being part of the Healthwatch volunteers’ team into the future.
Wearing another hat, I’m a community volunteer and chairman of a small group of community volunteers in Hednesford. All of our volunteering activities are currently suspended under government guidelines. However, it is important to keep in touch with volunteers and we have been discussing plans for the future and I have also been running errands for those volunteers who are currently shielding. I would have been part of a large town-council-led celebration for local community volunteers during Volunteers Week, but COVID has put paid to those plans! It is still important to celebrate and not overlook the huge contribution to society that the voluntary sector makes.
Sharon, Healthwatch Volunteer