From speaking to people about their experiences of health and social care, to providing information and advice about local services, our network is supported by thousands of people who give up their time to help improve care for their community.
To celebrate Volunteers’ Week, hear from three Healthwatch volunteers to find out why they got involved.
Creating an equal society
Norma, a retired mental health nurse from Swindon, volunteers with Healthwatch because of her motivation to improve health and care for everyone in her community. She does this by visiting local services to find out what is working well and what could be improved for people.
“I want to help build a society where all people have equal access to services and can share their views about health and social care, no matter their background.
“I would say to others who are thinking about volunteering – you can make a difference. Volunteering has a real and valuable impact on people, communities and society.
“My philosophy is simple. Get involved. Do good. Help others.”
Developing new skills
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and develop new skills, which is why ex-teacher Lyn and her husband John decided to get involved with Healthwatch Kent.
“As an ex-headteacher I first thought I would like to volunteer for a school, but after I spoke to Healthwatch, I decided to try something different.
“Volunteering has been a huge learning curve, it’s like learning a whole new career. But both John and I are now confident at speaking with health commissioners, service providers, clinicians and other local people, because of the skills Healthwatch have helped us develop.
“We are very proud to be part of a group of patients who scrutinise health and social care consultations. What is more rewarding than knowing that your voice can make a difference to how services are developed and improved?”
Helping my community
Daisy, who is a student in Bedfordshire, started volunteering with Healthwatch to help achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, but has found helping her community to be the most rewarding part.
“As a disabled person, I have found health services don’t always listen to what I need or provide care that is personalised to me.
“By volunteering with Healthwatch I am able to gather people’s views about services and then share them with health professionals, so they can improve the care they offer.”
She also believes that more young people should try volunteering.
“I believe everyone should be involved in volunteering! It’s an amazing way to give back to the community. Until you try it, you won’t know if you’ll enjoy doing it.”
Get involved this Volunteers' Week
Take a look at how you can highlight the importance of volunteering this Volunteers' Week (1-7 June). Share your story, or someone else's, and get involved with the conversation on social media #VolunteersWeek19.
If you would like to help make a difference to people's experiences of health and social care, get in touch with your local Healthwatch today.