Oriana is a volunteer with Healthwatch Redcar and Cleveland.
What inspired you to start volunteering with Healthwatch?
I first heard about Healthwatch when I was studying Health and Social Care at Redcar and Cleveland College. They came into the college to deliver a presentation and straight away I was interested in applying for a volunteering position.
I’ve continued to volunteer for Healthwatch while studying at university. I enjoy being able to take part in lots of different projects - it keeps me interested and motivated, as no two days are the same.
What do you enjoying about being a Healthwatch volunteer?
Volunteering for Healthwatch makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and I can see and hear the changes which I’ve been able to contribute to. I’m also helping to make changes in my local community, so not only helping to improve services for others, but helping me and how I access services.
Do you have a favourite moment from volunteering?
I worked on a project to gather the views and experiences of young people about their school nursing service. I helped the staff team engage with students at Redcar and Cleveland College to find out what they thought, so we could tell providers how they wanted to access the service and how the service could meet their needs.
I enjoyed speaking with the students and finding out what they thought about the current school nursing service. I found this interesting, as engaging with people younger than me was also something I hadn’t done before and it helped me develop my communication and interpersonal skills.
This work motivated me to help promote the service and make it more accessible to the people using it.
What would you say to people who are thinking about volunteering for Healthwatch?
I would highly recommend volunteering for Healthwatch. The role works around you and your commitments, which makes it easily accessible. I have the opportunity to volunteer as much or as little as I can, depending on my studies.
As a Healthwatch volunteer I feel I am valued by the team. My volunteer role has not only helped me to develop personally but it has also provided me with opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have known about or had access to. I’ve been able to tailor my volunteering work to the areas I’m most interested in - as Healthwatch covers such a wide range of health and social care services, there is an opportunity for everyone!
Volunteering for Healthwatch has been very valuable to my future career, as it has given me an insight into various health and social care services and I’ve received training in more specialist areas, like becoming a Dementia Friend.