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Celebrating the fantastic contributions volunteers make to our local communities

Group of Peer Support Volunteers who have just completed their training with Starting Well Partnership

Volunteers are at the heart of our local communities and there are currently over 100 volunteers working across Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, doing incredibly selfless work to support patients, services, and staff.

In 2022, volunteers for the Starting Well Partnership, a group of local organisations focused on giving children and families the best possible start in life, dedicated over 685 hours of their time to supporting Children, Young People and Families, offering reassurance to parents – especially during covid and deservedly won Volunteer of Year Award at the Trust’s 2022 awards ceremony.

Volunteers play a vital role within the Trust and the input, advice, and unique perspective they offer is invaluable.

Sue Harris, Director of Strategy and Partnership said: ‘Volunteers are a key part of our Trust, and we would be poorer without their input and advice. From tending to outside spaces, helping critique and redesign services, helping with admin tasks, and even supporting our recruitment, each and every one of our volunteers mean so much to us, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them all’

Within the Starting Well Partnership, volunteers and peer support workers are integral to delivering the service adding significant value from Breast Buddy Peer Supporter providing support groups for breastfeeding parents to Community Hub volunteers who support the delivery of stay and play and parenting support groups.

Maria Harrison, Breast Buddy Peer Supporter for Starting Well Partnership said: ‘For me, being a volunteer, I am stimulated with a sense of team, purpose, and achievement, and often receive validation for what I have to offer.  It is also rewarding to see the effect, sometimes immediately, of the information/knowledge I have shared. It makes a difference to make a difference (copyright me!).’

Volunteer week, which takes place from the 1st to 7th of June each year provides the perfect opportunity to recognise and say thank you for those contributions.

Not only does volunteering help local services, but it’s also thought to have a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those involved. It also helps people connect with their local communities, reducing isolation and loneliness.

There are a number of ways volunteers can get involved at the Trust from joining Youth Board and giving young people a voice to ensure service are effective and accessible to Experts by Experience roles, which allow people with lived experience of mental ill-health to have a voice, share their views and influence services. A full list of current volunteer opportunities can be found on the website.

If you are interested in finding out more about the wide range of different volunteer roles available within the partnership by visiting the Starting Well Partnership website.

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