Laura is a Volunteer Support Officer with the Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team in Nottinghamshire Healthcare. As part of International Volunteer Manager’s Day, she reflects on her role, volunteers and the challenges of 2020.
I think most of us can agree that we didn’t necessarily see 2020 turning out this way. It’s been a strange old journey so far this year and it’s likely to carry on into 2021 for some months to come.
There’s been a lot of challenges to us all since the pandemic broke. Personally, I’ve found it most difficult to keep up with the constant change. The Government advice seemed to change almost daily, the Trust were planning ahead as best they could and then adjusting based on the Government advice, services were trying to juggle demands of patients, carers and staff and we as a Volunteer Team were trying to redeploy volunteers to support the ongoing work of the Trust.
One thing for me that has been clear from this year so far is that the contribution volunteers make to our services and the lives of our patients and carers is absolutely appreciated. I’ve been really proud to work within a team of staff and volunteers that have persevered and adapted as best we can to ensure that involvement, experience and volunteering continues within our Trust during these strange and unusual times.
So what of the future?
I hope that we can continue to use the best bits of innovation that have arisen from all this. We’ve been linking up more with online e-learning with Health Education England, opening up a varied catalogue of training to volunteers to help support their ongoing development; I’d love for this to evolve into a National Volunteering Certificate. Virtual meetings really open up accessibility for some, but not for all. I’d like to see elements of the digital continue, but it doesn’t replace seeing people face to face; I think many of us are looking forward to being able to get back physically to our roles. I’d also like to see greater recognition of the value and contribution that volunteers bring to not only our organisation, but to others nationwide.
International Volunteer Manager’s Day is celebrated on the 5th November. It was founded to recognise the role of Volunteer Managers in their mobilisation and support of the worlds volunteers.