Five benefits of volunteering when you work full time

A Rochdale communications manager shares why he volunteers at Healthwatch and how he balances this with work and family commitments.
Man sitting at a computer

We spoke to Healthwatch Rochdale volunteer Ben Greenwood as part of Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June) to find out more about his role and the benefits of volunteering whilst also working full time.

Thirty six year-old father of two Ben, from Norden, Rochdale, is a Partnership Communications Manager at Blackburn with Darwen Council and has volunteered with Healthwatch since it was formed in 2013.

He’s vice chair of the organisation and also sits on the board, giving a few hours to Healthwatch each month.

Ben said: “Rochdale is my hometown and I am fiercely proud of my area. I am also fiercely proud of the NHS and its ideals. I am passionate about people being able to get good quality care. I want services there to be the best they can be. I also suffer from epilepsy and I have been frustrated by gaps in services.

“I have always been passionate about health and care services and I want them to be the best they can be. Healthwatch is a way for me to do that.”

Balancing volunteering with other commitments is sometimes challenging, Ben says.

“It’s tough to do, especially as I have a young family, but I want to do my bit. I feel it’s important to try to give something back especially if you volunteer in your home town.”
—  Ben Greenwood

Ben's top five benefits of volunteering:

  1. Developing new skills. Volunteering offers a unique chance to learn new skills whilst doing something you enjoy. “You develop skills you don’t necessarily have the time to develop at work. It’s good for you CV,” he says.
  2. Setting a good example to your children. “I have a young family and I think showing them we can all play a part in improving health and care in our community is important.”
  3. Giving something back. Whatever your background or your own experience with local health and social care services, offering your time and skills to support Healthwatch work could make a real difference in your local community and offer you the chance to give something back. “I am proud of how far this organisation has come and to have been involved in this. Our team has been superb and really pushed us to achieve. We have done some really positive pieces of work and built some really good relationships.”
  4. Health and wellbeing. Whilst volunteering is good for your local community, it is also good for your health. Recent research has shown that doing a good deed for others leads to improved physical health and increased feelings of emotional wellbeing. “Volunteering makes you happy!” Ben says.
  5. Making a difference.  “There are lots of role in your local Healthwatch and you do make a difference. Health and care are incredibly important so playing a part in shaping them is very rewarding.”

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. 

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