We are here to support, promote and develop voluntary and community action in Middlesbrough

Oriana's experience of volunteering with Healthwatch South Tees

Healthwatch South Tees is the independent champion for people using local health and social care services.  We listen to what people like about services and what could be improved and share their views with those with the power to make change happen.

We have a group of volunteers who actively support us to gather feedback, hold information stalls, support us with our work plan and promote Healthwatch.

Oriana has volunteered with us for 3 years and has given an overview of her experience during that time.

‘I first heard about Healthwatch whilst studying Health and Social Care at Redcar and Cleveland College. Healthwatch came into the college to deliver a presentation and I was instantly interested in applying for a volunteering position. I have continued to volunteer for Healthwatch whilst at University as I enjoy being able to participate in many different projects, this keeps me interested and motivated as you are not constantly working on the same thing and no two days are the same.

In addition to this, volunteering for Healthwatch makes me feel like I'm doing something worth-while and I'm able to see and hear the changes which I've been able to contribute to. Not only this, but 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.

One example is a project I've been involved with which aimed to gather the views and experiences of young people about the current school nursing service. This involved supporting the staff team to engage with students at Redcar and Cleveland College. We had to collate this information to feed back to the providers about how they want to access the service and what they would like it to provide in order to meet their needs.  I enjoyed engaging with the students and discovering their views about the current school nursing service. I found this interesting and also something I had'nt done before; engaging with people younger than myself, which meant that I was able to develop my communication and interpersonal skills.  This work has given me the motivation to help promote and adapt this service to make it more accessible to those who are using it.

I'd highly recommend volunteering for Healthwatch, as this role works around you and your commitments, which makes it easily accessible and also shows that they care about their volunteers. I have the opportunity to volunteer as much or as little as I can depending on my studies.

As a volunteer at Healthwatch I feel I am valued by the team. Healthwatch has not only provided me with a volunteering role to support my personal development but they have also provided me with opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have known about or had access to.  As a volunteer I have been able to tailor my volunteering work to areas which I am most interested in, due to Healthwatch covering 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, some of which I have had no prior experience with.

Healthwatch has provided me with so many opportunities which I am so grateful for. I have received training to become a Dementia Friend, Enter and View Authorised Representative and much more, all of which I will be able to incorporate into my CV, which will ultimately support my future career in health and social care.’

If you would like to volunteer with us, or would like more information about the work we do please contact us on 01642 955605 or email general@healthwatchsouthtees.org.uk