What is your name?
What is your volunteer role?
Where do you volunteer?
I’m based at the Rosewood Involvement Centre in Ollerton, I volunteer all over Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust, largely in Mental Health settings. In the forensics division from Arnold Lodge to Wells Road to Rampton Hospital and as far as Wathwood Hospital. I have also volunteered in some community mental health settings such as Millbrook Hospital and Bassetlaw Hospital.
When did you start volunteering?
I started attending Rosewood meetings in October 2016 and I became actively involved in January 2017.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
It gives me a sense of purpose, structure and helps me to stay mentally healthy in my retirement. While receiving some counselling for anxiety/depression I discussed the possibility with my counsellor. I had already identified the National Health Service as an area where I might make a difference through supporting others and bringing the communication skills that I had developed in my teaching career. I had always been able to work well with children (of all ages) whose self-esteem and confidence was sometimes fragile and also with others who had special needs. My counsellor introduced me to Nigel Groves who managed the Involvement Centre and I liked what I observed and learned from my fellow volunteers and the professionals who lead and direct us.
Describe what you do in 100 words or less.
My role includes: preparing some buffet lunches for Involvement meetings; collecting Patient feedback for S.U.C.E.; gathering Care Opinion, mostly from patients in mental health settings; Involvement Interview training; sitting on Involvement Interview panels for NHS staff appointments; telling my story/journey in mental health at staff Induction Training (at Rampton Hospital); attending Patient Forums at many venues; helping to represent patients from Arnold Lodge at Divisional I.E.V. meetings; assisting in special training sessions; participating in the Rosewood communications group; attending and contributing to a variety of meetings in the Involvement sector of the Trust; and I support fellow volunteers just as they support me.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The variety of tasks, the peer support I can offer and receive, and the sense that I am involved in and can contribute something to the recovery stories of others.
What one word would you use to describe the NHS?
Awesome (but under tremendous pressure).
If you could give the NHS any 70th birthday present what would it be?
Stability in terms of finance, direction and the removal of unnecessary party political interference.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about volunteering at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust?
Don’t hesistate. Get in touch and discover some of the ways you can help. There’s a role somewhere for almost everyone who wants to give something back. You can feel so much better about yourself while helping others.
Michael’s also previously written blogs for us here and here.
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