Since May 2016 CSW Volunteers has successfully recruited, registered and placed over 200 Somerset volunteers who give their time each month to support services with Somerset Partnership NHS Trust.
Research from the Social Care Institute for Excellence describes how loneliness and isolation impact upon quality of life and wellbeing, adversely affecting health. Findings show that people who use befriending or community services were less lonely and socially isolated. Through volunteering individuals are brought together in their community and feel a sense of common purpose.
Who are our volunteers?
- Our volunteers ages range from 17 to 83
- They are individuals who are passionate about their local community
- Individuals who may have previously benefitted from the service
- Some are volunteering to gain experience towards employment
- Many are retired and volunteering gives them a social environment where they feel part of a team
- They are all helping themselves and their beneficiaries to combat loneliness
Most importantly, our volunteers are outstanding individuals who give their time to improve the lives of others. Time to talk, to support, or just to be with someone. Especially on hospital wards where for every bed made, or cup of tea served, a smile is given, a few words are exchanged and a day is brightened. In community hospitals alone, over 400 hours are given by volunteers each month!
Research and reviews have found that volunteering is helping people maintain good mental health and assists in recovery for those who have experienced mental health issues. In fact, a 2013 long term study ‘showed volunteering had favourable effects on depression, life satisfaction and well being’. Dan’s case certainly supports this:
Dan is a 29 year old research analysis graduate. Since graduating he is volunteering as a research assistant within the Somerset Partnership Research & Clinical Effectiveness team at Mallard Court Bridgwater. This role utilises Dan’s skills and knowledge from the degree he studied and will increase his employability in this field of work. Dan is diagnosed with a personality disorder and in the past has benefitted from the support given by Somerset Partnership mental health services. He now also volunteers with the Personality Disorder Team in Yeovil and he believes he can offer a valuable insight for others who are experiencing problems. In his spare time Dan also volunteers with The Samaritans!
As a volunteer, receiving information and support is important. We believe that it is equally important to recognise and promote achievements. CSW Volunteers is finalising and circulating the first edition of the Volunteer Newsletter which will inform, update and celebrate the enormous impact to communities and individuals in Somerset.
Stephen Ladyman, chair of Somerset Partnership Trust has contributed the following statement for us:
“I want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers across our community for the positive difference they make to the experience of our patients, as well as the support they give our staff.
“We hope this will inspire more colleagues in the local NHS to consider how volunteers can contribute in their work areas and I’d strongly suggest they get in touch with CSW Volunteers.
“All our volunteers in various roles make a real difference and it is great to see their contribution recognised – I want to thank them for their outstanding contribution.”