Call For Volunteers
Royal Voluntary Service, one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities, is calling on Preston residents to volunteer for an ‘hour per week’ or more to see us through the difficult Covid winter
Months on from the start of the pandemic and the groundswell of volunteer support that followed, the charity is urging people to pull together and support one another again by returning to volunteering or stepping forward for the first time.
The call comes on the back of research which finds that more than 4.9 million over 50s, many with health conditions and without family nearby, say they would benefit from volunteer help this winter.
Volunteer roles include everything from Community Response Volunteer – to provide help by collecting and delivering shopping, medication and other essential supplies that an individual may need.
Community Response Plus Volunteer – similar to the above but to individuals with cognitive impairments or significant vulnerabilities. An enhanced DBS check with a barred list is required for this role.
Patient Transport Volunteer – to provide vital transport to patients who are medically fit to attend routine medical appointments. This includes taking patients from their home to local medical appointments.
NHS Transport Volunteer – to provide essential support across the different NHS services, helping get vital supplies to sites.
Check in and Chat Volunteer – to provide simple yet vital phone support to individuals who may be at heightened risk of loneliness.
Check in and Chat Plus Volunteer – similar to the above but this involves providing regular support to the same individual for 10 weeks (3 phone calls a week). An enhanced DBS check is required for this role.
Volunteers must be over 18, and fit and well with no symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups will still be able to offer support over the telephone as a Check in and Chat Volunteer.
One Preston volunteer is Mark Woodward who works for Lancashire Fire Rescue. Working in the fire service, Mark is very used to helping out those in need. That’s why when the call up came for NHS Volunteer Responders – Mark was one of the first to apply. Mark also has mental health and wellbeing training so was particularly keen to support those self-isolating with Check in and Chat calls.
He says: “The feeling you get from helping someone who needs it is something you just can’t beat. I have actually struggled myself with mental health and I have found that volunteering as an NHS Volunteer Responder has helped me as much as I have helped others. It’s given me a reason to get out and do something that I know is meaningful which is incredibly rewarding.
“I have a busy job with the Lancashire Fire Rescue Service, but whenever I can, I place myself ‘on-duty’ to help out with whatever I’m needed for. I had a long chat with a lovely man in his 90’s who had sadly lost his wife. I was humbled by the fact that he was able to open up to me and I think we both took comfort in having a friendly conversation while both living alone.”
Recruitment is now open visit: nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk