Just before Christmas I spoke to some of our Nottingham Involvement Centre Volunteers about the impact of their volunteering. They shared their feelings about the impact on their lives and how they have been affected by loneliness at Christmas time. Now that we are in January 2016 and the Christmas decorations are put back in their boxes for another year, take a moment to remember the many people affected by loneliness and isolation. Volunteering has been shown to improve quality of life and for some people, Volunteering makes you happier!
‘Volunteering gives me structure to my day. Loneliness is something I am familiar with. I haven’t worked for over a year due to being unwell. Volunteering gives me a purposeful distraction from everyday life. I am scared of being on my own and I enjoy building rapport with people through volunteering’. E.T.
‘Loneliness gives me a pain in my stomach and whole body. I have felt abandoned in a way where I felt nobody wanted me. Volunteering brings me companionship. I can think about others instead of myself. Years ago I used to have lots of people round for Christmas as I don’t like to think of people being on their own. It’s just that I don’t want others to suffer pain like me.’ Gladys
‘I started as a volunteer on the hospital wards thirty years ago due to having a bad personal experience I wanted to give something back. Christmas is a hard time of year for some people. I sympathise and recognise how others are feeling and help others to talk things through’. G.B.
‘Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose. If I wasn’t a volunteer I would be on my own all the time. I live on my own. As a volunteer, you give and you get back’. A.P
‘I like being round other people in the Trust that understand what I’m going through with my Mental Health. Volunteering gives me that sense of inclusion’. A.D.
‘I like a routine. I like to be with people. Volunteering gives me an opportunity to be with others. It takes me away from four walls and I like to think that I make people happy when I volunteer and share my journey as a service user in Trust staff induction and I’m a member of ’The StoryShop
‘I’ve been on my own for a very long time and felt loneliness Volunteering gives me a structure to daily life. I enjoy giving something back. It helps in many ways from education to work experience and helps me to become familiar with the voluntary sector outside and inside of the NHS. I have two volunteer roles one at City Hospital in Nottingham as a Patient Support volunteer and my other role is as an involvement and experience volunteer where I do lots of different things including ward audits and interviewing new staff. Loneliness is a dark and dismal place where I feel I’m not wanted and volunteering lifts me out of the negative feelings and promotes a sense of positivity. I’ve been on my own at Christmas and it makes you unable to get into the spirit of the season. I have seasonal affective disorder and it can be hard to celebrate/ Volunteering gives me what I describe as the 6 C’s; Care for others, Compassion, Competence, Communication with others, Courage and Commitment
For more information about Volunteering have a look at our website page or for more information contact the Involvement Team at: Telephone: 0800 052 1514
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Volunteering@nottshc.nhs.uk