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Volunteering and it’s Benefits

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What a week!

This week, to honour national #VolunteersWeek we’ve been sharing volunteering stories and experiences from Provide Community colleagues.

At Provide Community, our people, and the communities we serve are at the heart of what we do so this week has been the perfect opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of volunteering and the contributions volunteers make to the local and wider communities.

To celebrate the end of #VolunteersWeek we’ve compiled some of our favourite stories to continue our special thank you.

Annarella Prime
Annarella kicked off the week with her story from volunteering on the Parent Teacher Association at her children’s school.

“When all four of my children were at the same school I volunteered to be on the PTA. For me that was the right timing and I’m very glad I did join. I enjoyed going to the evening meetings and getting to know parents in other year groups.”

Annarella also got to know the teachers at her children’s school on a better level and enjoyed applying her organisation skills when planning school events that her children would enjoy.

“It’s very satisfying seeing everything come together on the day. Watching the children’s faces is priceless!”

Alongside other parent volunteers, Annarella gave a helping hand at the schools Coronation Celebration and participated in the event throughout the day and giving out prizes to the children at the school.

Myrtle Ham
Myrtle has been volunteering at St Peter’s Hospital in Maldon since 2016.

“Seven years ago, I started volunteering at St Peter’s Hospital. It was only for 2.5 hours per week on a Friday.”

“I help in reception, directing patients where to go to. This includes the X-ray departments, the Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit, bloods, outpatients etc.”
Myrtle learnt new skills whilst volunteering at the hospital in helping the receptionists with their workload.

“I also give out hearing aid batteries and I also help organise the post. This means I have to use the franking machine, weigh parcels, and fill in information for recorded deliveries – which took a bit to learn, but I can now do myself and which is a great help to the permanent receptionist.

“Four years ago, my husband died, then COVID hit. The staff at the hospital were very supportive and would help me in anyway they could.”

After taking the covid jab during the pandemic Myrtle continued volunteering at the hospital, and now has a strong relationship with those at St Peter’s Hospital.

“The staff at the hospital are like my second family and always seem pleased to see me. It is great meeting the public when they come in and offering a few words of encouragement to them. It is so nice to have somewhere to go where you feel you can help in some small way – it makes your day worthwhile.”

Sarah Newman and her daughter Rosie

Last year, Sarah took the opportunity to volunteer for a day at a special United in Diversity event at Braxted Park. More than 300 schoolchildren from across Essex attended the event and enjoyed activities that celebrated diversity.

“It was a very busy day helping to make sure the event ran smoothly and that all the children had a chance to take part in all the activities – the therapy dogs from Dedham Therapy Farm and the adaptive bikes from Disability for Sport proved very popular!”

Sarah’s daughter Rosie also got involved with volunteering and spoke with the pupils from the local schools.

“Rosie ran a stall talking to children about autism and answering their questions from her own experience.”

This year, both Sarah and Rosie are volunteering at the event.

“We’re really looking forward to the event especially as this year Rosie is giving a speech about her experience of special educational needs at school.”

Sarah is incredibly grateful for the volunteering opportunities Provide offers and now encourages others to get involved however they can.

“I am so grateful that Provide gives us this opportunity to volunteer and I would recommend everyone take it and go and make a difference in our communities. It’s another fantastic way we can live out our vision and values.”

Oli Game
During his time volunteering Oli had a fantastic time working closely with the East London Business Alliance (ELBA), who work with communities and business in East London so the latter can help the former.

Through his career Oliver has delivered many soft skills training including communication, time management and customer service. ELBA though some local schools could benefit from soft skills training, which is where Oliver’s volunteering work originally started.

“I delivered around 3 half day courses to a set of different schools in the Docklands area, supporting the front of house and office staff with delivering a service to their community, representing the school they worked at in the best light possible while also helping them deal with more challenging interactions.”

Like many of those that volunteer, Oliver has found it to be a particularly rewarding experience.

“All my experience of volunteering has been great. It’s been personally rewarding to see the impact I’ve had on the pupils at these schools and just as rewarding to give some development opportunities to the reception/ front of house staff whose hard work can go overlooked. Sometimes we forget our own skillset and don’t appreciate the help we can offer others and the impact this can have on our own wellbeing.”

All Provide colleagues get two days of paid volunteering leave to explore what volunteering work could do for them and how they can give back to the community. To discuss volunteering opportunities and find out how you can #GetInvolved contact Lorraine Pendleton at lorraine.pendleton@nhs.net.

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