HI My name is Val and I am a volunteer working with the renal team at Salford Royal.
Why am I volunteering?
The first thing, on a personal level the bottom line is down to how I was raised, to always remember the importance of sharing my experiences and successes with others as a way of giving a little helping hand no matter how small, whether the person(s) like me or not (just to know I’ve done something positive to support someone else in a meaning full way).
Secondly, I’m nosey (some would say inquisitive) I definitely would say nosey as I like to people watch, listen, ask questions, learn and encourage personal growth especially those who need a bit of a nudge.
On a professional level, I’ve been a lecturer involved in Post 16 education for approximately 12years and met a range of characters from students, colleagues and partners from other organisations. Some I’m still in touch with who occasionally share a hello, what are you up to now?…via text or email and others who will stop me in the street just to say thank you. Volunteering has provided me with the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to support people away from the classroom. It also offers a reality check away from my teaching bubble; I get to learn about what’s going on in the real world and am part of a team that works towards bridging a gap in someone’s life.
What have I done?
I’ve been working with Janet and Tina for nearly a year (which has flown by) supporting young people either back in to work through volunteering or education. I’ve found that this type of work requires a lot of patients, commitment and durability as the young people involved have a range of complexities that can at times become barriers to engagement. What I set out to do is to befriend and get my young person to reflect on past achievements, what they would like to do in the future, recognise the barriers they need to overcome and making a decision to just do it. From this my role is to research options for them to consider, contact new potential partners and set up meetings with the view to gaining experience or a college place.
What has it been like for me?
It’s been a comfortable journey, in that the young people I currently work with are friendly and welcoming. I have found Janet, Tina and Julie to be encouraging and accessible by being prepared to step in to provide additional support when needed. I feel that my volunteering has been a positive experience as we slowly, but surely nudge our young people towards new opportunities.
Val has been working with Salford Royal’s renal team as part of the Patient Experience Quality Improvement project which is a partnership with the renal department and the KPA; it’s where a bunch of staff, patients, carers and volunteers get together to try and improve things in the kidney community. If you have considered volunteering as a way of “ giving a little helping hand no matter how small” – we would love to hear from you – please email firstname.lastname@example.org