Volunteers' Week gives us a chance to celebrate the wonderful work our volunteers do all year round.
We have over 5,000 Healthwatch volunteers who help local people find information about health and social care services, and help make their experiences of care heard.
Isabelle volunteers with Healthwatch Bath & North East Somerset (BANES). She told us about the difference the role has made to her life.
Why did you volunteer with Healthwatch?
After studying human nutrition at university, I wanted to find out about health and care from a different point of view. Volunteering at Healthwatch BANES meant I could find out more about the healthcare sector.
What activities have you been involved in during your time at Healthwatch BANES?
My main task has been to listen to the views of local people and gather feedback for Healthwatch BANES. They then follow up on issues in the local area.
At the moment I am being trained to carry out Enter and View visits on behalf of Healthwatch BANES. This is where Healthwatch volunteers visit healthcare settings, chat and listen to residents, patients, families and staff members, about their experiences of the service, and then report their findings to decision-making organisations.
What has been your favourite thing about volunteering with Healthwatch?
It has given me such a confidence boost. It's a great way to learn about the healthcare sector from a different point of view. My listening and communication skills have developed hugely, and my confidence has grown massively with talking to new people.
Everyone at Healthwatch is really nice and there's no pressure about the amount of hours that I have to do. This makes it perfect to fit around studying, so it’s the quieter parts of the term I can volunteer more, but when it gets busier with deadlines and exams, I can lower the amount of volunteering hours.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?
If you are looking to get into the healthcare system then it’s a really nice way to start. Everyone is so nice and friendly and working at a local level is so 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.