I was born and brought up in Sierra Leone, the capital of Freetown. I attended primary and secondary school and later did some voluntary work with the Sierra Leone Red Cross and MSF (Sierra Leone ), on helping to curb the spread of epidemics like cholera and HIV. Since then, I’ve grown more interested in health related issues and the need to help people who are in need.
Me being a volunteer at Healthwatch stems from my active volunteering role with the British Red Cross. A first – aid coordinator introduced me to Healthwatch. After having read through the activities and work of Healthwatch, I was thrilled to get involved because of the link with health related issues and my passion for compassion, the chance to meet new people and learn new things. The team at Healthwatch are a great inspiration. Healthwatch has helped me to improve on my knowledge, skills and confidence. It is definitely a platform for my career to become a health professional one day.
My volunteering at Healthwatch started in 2013. Since then I’ve been actively taking part in activities and events across Liverpool with the team. I love being a part of Healthwatch volunteering team because of the educative and productive elements of its program.
I got involved most times with the public outdoor events attended by Healthwatch. This could be: one to one with people wanting to know about health watch, and distributing leaflets to passers by. On some other times, I stay in the office on the computer researching the internet for information relevant to the organisation – data entry from various dental practices and GP’S surgeries within a particular locality in Liverpool. Improving computer skills knowledge and group discussions on how to improve Healthwatch.
I would like to stay on course with my volunteering at Healthwatch, whilst pursuing my career goal to become a health and social care adult nurse. I’m presently on the right path as I’m about to start my access course – which might eventually lead me to university. Hope and pray things work out as planned!
We volunteered with Healthwatch Liverpool:
Volunteering at Healthwatch has been a great experience,the team are kind and welcoming and make you feel part of the team. The staff take the time to teach valuable new skills and identify any weaknesses that can be improved in a supportive manner. Personally, working for Healthwatch has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the number of services that are available within the local community of Liverpool and how these best support the people living within these communities.
I first started at Healthwatch as part of the placement element of my university degree course in health and social care for individuals, families and communities. During my time on placement at Healthwatch I have undertaken tasks such as data entry for the local opticians and dentists within the local area as well as maintaining information leaflets for the general public to browse if they require a certain service.
In addition, during my time on placement I have had the opportunity to take part in the Twitter Chase which was a new and unique way of bringing different services together to get the recognition of what they do within the community of Liverpool. Also, throughout placement I would be given enquires from fellow staff members to advise the service user on the number of services available within their area that would best support their needs.
Furthermore, I decided to carry on volunteering because the skills and opportunities I had gained from placement had all been positive. Previously, I had no knowledge about the number of services available within Liverpool as well as the number of people who didn’t realise that these services were available in their local community but working for Healthwatch has allowed me to see that these services are available widely. Next, at Healthwatch they have a designated volunteer support worker who is very helpful, kind and addresses any concerns you have as well as ensuring you are enjoying your time as a volunteer.
Moreover, at the moment as a volunteer I am currently broadening my range of skills by starting to input data onto databases as well as assisting Healthwatch staff with research for enquires from people in the local community.
Additionally, despite previous apprehension of making phone calls to dentists while on placement I have found that I have gained massive confidence as with support with the volunteer co-ordinator I am now able to make phone calls more efficiently. Besides the phone calls at the moment to the dentists I am researching what local activities are available as well as updating the newer services that have become available and inputted this on a spreadsheet.
In the future I would like to carry on with a university course in adult nursing and from this university degree course become a registered nurse or a dermatology nurse.
I am 25 and half years old, I have Cerebral Palsy due to this I come up against limitations and challenges on a daily basis. I am a wheelchair user, despite having a disability I do not let it hinder me if I can help it. I recently got married to my lovely husband, and completed a degree in health and social wellbeing in December of last year. Once I had finished my degree I knew that the next step for me was searching for my career before I finally graduated. After a good 5 – 6 months of self-job searching and numerous unsuccessful interviews despite all my qualifications and all the endless voluntary work I do. I began to find that after so much job searching things for me in terms of finding my career were personally becoming rather mundane, and boring, as I would hit brick wall after brick wall.
My life at this point began to lack in routine and I had nothing to focus on or challenge myself with. But I wasn’t about to give up on aiming for my dream career as I am woman who loves a challenge.
So, my friend mentioned enrolling on a course this course being none other than the Princes Trust Team Programme Course. I decided to go along to the recruitment day as I had nothing to lose! The rest is history.
During my time on this 12 week course, I was given plenty of opportunity to enhance and build on my team work skills, also improve and gain further employability skills which I can carry over to the workplace. When I am finally let loose into the world of work, furthermore, as part of The Princes Trust Team Programme I was required to undertake 2 weeks work experience….. This is where Healthwatch comes in, as I completed my 2 week placement with Healthwatch Liverpool. Whilst at Healthwatch Liverpool on work experience my role was to assist with the in putting of data onto the electronic database. I was also required to attend public events were it was my job to promote Healthwatch as a volunteering service and inform students about my experiences with the Healthwatch team. I also attended a public event at a Health Centre where it was my responsibility to talk to patients about their experience of using particular services and take note of any concerns or thought on the services they may have in order to direct them to the correct team(s) who would better provide the support they required. I assisted the team were possible in dealing with small telephone, or email enquiries in this capacity my role was to gather the appropriate information for clients about the different health and social care services and support available to them.
5 months on, and I have now successfully completed my Princes Trust Qualification, still looking for my dream job in the health sector. But there has one thing that hasn’t changed and that is my involvement with the Healthwatch Liverpool Team as shortly after my time on placement I put myself forward to be a volunteer, as a result I am still actively volunteering with the Healtwatch team and assisting them at public health events, volunteering as much as possible and as and when needed. Being part of the Healthwatch team means there is never a dull moment!
Sometime in the near future I am hoping to be part of a team within the health sector, and make a difference to people’s lives. However, big or small that difference maybe, and of course I am hoping to still be actively volunteering with Healthwatch as and when I am free.
Hi my name is Marie and I became involved with Healthwatch Liverpool when it transitioned from Liverpool Link a couple of years ago. I was the Gender Champion on the Link core group and helped the team with task and finish and enter and view work; the work was very interesting and I decided to continue to volunteer when Healthwatch Liverpool was established.
I have been a Healthwatch Liverpool volunteer for about two years, and can honestly say it is an honor and real privilege to be part of an organisation that deeply cares about its volunteers and service users.
I undertook an office based placement doing the following stuff: researching and gathering information about health and social care services in Liverpool, updating the directories, creating small databases for health and social care services such as intermediate Health Care survey, GP services, dental services, pharmacy services, care home services, dental enquiries, general enquiries, etc. Additionally, storing and sorting all of that information in databases, visualizing data and making it ready to be put on Healthwatch Liverpool website. Finally, attending volunteer meetings, events, and short-term trainings.
The experience has improved my IT skills, time management and organisational abilities. Furthermore, all team members are so nice and kind people thus the friendly environment makes volunteering with Healthwatch Liverpool more fun than work.
It is worth mentioning, that volunteering has empowered my CV, and I have received good feedbacks from Data Assistant Willie Gibbons and Information & Project Officer Lynne Butterworth about my role and personal & professional improvement.