Volunteers’ Week takes place in June every year. It’s a chance to say thank you for the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
Although as a result of COVID-19, as an organisation we have had to temporarily cut back or stop our volunteering activity, we still wish to recognise the important role volunteers play in complementing the work of our staff and we welcome the varied and unique contributions they make to patients, carers, the public and our staff. We also hope to be able to reinstate these activities when it is assessed to be safe to do so.
Why is volunteering important?
As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers' wellbeing too: its human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help people gain valuable new skills and experiences, and boost confidence.
We currently have around 40 DPT volunteers across Devon and those who join us do so for a variety of reasons, some are at college or university and wish to use the experience to gain a further insight to support their careers in mental health, some are retired but not quite ready to put their feet up! Some are looking for work or want to get back to it after a break and we have those who have lived experience who can offer such a valuable insight.
Our current volunteering roles are varied, interesting and rewarding. Volunteers help with a wide range of tasks including:
- Ward buddies – befriending, talking and listening to patients
- Recreational activities with patients such as arts, crafts, reading and playing games
- Horticultural support
- Pets as Therapy
- Peer Group buddy
- Pastoral and spiritual care
- Carer engagement
- Charity fundraising events and campaigns
Here’s what some of volunteers and staff have to say:
Marie Ash - Volunteer and Peer Support Worker
“Being involved and volunteering in Devon Partnership NHS Trust has been a big part of my personal recovery journey. It has taken me on a journey of growth in confidence and ability and I hope to inspire and enable other people to make involvement and volunteering part of their own personal recovery journey. It has taken me to be part of the Together group setting up Peer Support, to then becoming a Peer Support Worker and now as a Senior Peer Support Worker here in North Devon. Supporting ladies breaking free has helped to turn the negative experience of childhood sexual abuse into a positive supporting experience. It can be a positive experience for all”
Shirley – A Volunteer Activity Assistant on Beech Ward
"Volunteering means that I can use my skills to get alongside, help and encourage patients, feel useful and benefit from social interaction with staff."
Stephany Phillips - Ward Manager, Russell Clinic
"Russell Clinic has welcomed volunteers to the ward in recent history. Volunteers have provided a key role in being a champion and someone different from the ward staff that people using our services can relate to. At times this may be just a conversation, but at times of distress and turmoil having a listening ear is just so valuable. It’s these small gestures that can mean so much to people at times of need and in their recovery.
"Russell clinic is hopeful to have more volunteers to join our team that have experience in flower arranging and gardening skills , and even join in with a co facilitate group linking in with the 5 ways of mental wellbeing."
Jez Brown - Lead Chaplain
“We are delighted at the way in which our trained and committed chaplaincy volunteers are able to offer their support to our inpatients, their carers and our staff - alongside the support offered by our chaplaincy staff team. Through regular and dedicated visits to one specific ward, each volunteer builds relationships of trust, which enables the delivery of pastoral, spiritual and religious care to all. People speak very highly of the quality of care that they receive from our volunteers”.
If you are interested in volunterring for Devon Partnership NHS Trust, please contact Jo Horne, Volunteer and Work Experience Co-ordinator on Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07971 722442.