The Involvement, Experience & Volunteering Team are counting down the 70 days to the NHS’s 70th Anniversary July 5th 2018 with a blog a day.
During this Coundown we are celebrating Volunteers’ Week. A chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK and in our NHS. It takes place 1-7 June every year.
Whitney shares her volunteering experience as part of this
What is your name?
What volunteering do you do?
I volunteer with mums and young babies
Where do you volunteer?
I volunteer down at my local children’s centre in East Leake, Leicestershire and in one of my roles I go out into the community with a member of staff and help to deliver services down at the local GP surgery
When did you start volunteering?
I started volunteering last September 2017
Why did you choose to volunteer?
I’ve been a stay at home mum for the past seven years. I have two children who are six and three. My youngest started nursery last September and as he only goes there for three hours a day I wanted to do something constructive with my time but I was still limited in what I could do. I have qualifications in health and social care and social work and I knew all about children’s centres so I thought why not see if they have any volunteer opportunities and put my qualifications to good use? Fortunately they did, and better yet I was able to fit it in perfectly around my children. I only moved to the area around a year before I started volunteering and it was a great way to get out and meet new people, have adult conversation, and give back to my new community (however not so new as my grandparents have lived here for 24 years). It’s a great way for me to gain new experiences to include on my CV or job applications and it helps fill the gap on my CV so it doesn’t feel so daunting as a mum when I think about getting back into the working world.
Describe what you do in 100 words or less.
My main role is to help at the baby self-weigh in clinic down at the doctor’s surgery. I set up the scales, the changing tables, the conversion charts, meet and greet mums and their lovely babies and help them sign in. I’m a friendly face for someone to chat to. I can’t give medical advice as I am not a health professional but I can help by signposting them to services that can help. I tell them all about the children’s centre and the great groups and services we have to offer.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love being out in the community, meeting the mums and children. Being a mum myself, I know how lonely and isolating it can be. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows all of the time so I like being able to be that friendly face and let them know they aren’t alone and there’s lots of support they can access. It makes me feel good when a new mum (or any mum) goes away feeling a bit less stressed or a bit more hopeful and not so overwhelmed. The other thing I enjoy is being around the children’s centre staff who are so wonderful, supportive and encouraging. It really brightens my day knowing I get to work alongside them.
What three words would you use to describe the NHS?
Amazing. Brilliant. Wonderful.
If you could give the NHS any 70th birthday present what would it be?
More funding…..so it can carry on providing brilliant services!
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about volunteering at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust?
If you have some free time that you don’t know how to fill it I would just go for it. You will come away with such a rewarding feeling. I would perhaps write down what areas you are interested in and and take it from there. There are many different ways you can help and volunteer in the NHS.
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