Young people are successfully boosting the appeal of an expanded NHS volunteers service they themselves support.
The young people’s branch of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust Volunteers Service has been attracting new blood with the combined help of the youngsters’ own efforts and £80,000 new funding.
The funding, from the charitable Pears Foundation and the ‘#Iwill’ fund, encourages young people to take part in youth social action and building better communities and has paid for two first-ever new posts.
Young volunteers, aged 16 – 25 are offered a range of roles including hospital ward ‘buddy’ (patient befriender) and ‘wayfinder’ ( visitor/patient guide).
One of the new staff is Fiona Jones, Youth Volunteer Co-Ordinator: “There are so many exciting opportunies for young people within the NHS. Young people bring such fantastic energy to the Trust along with all their individiual strengths. I am passionate about working alongside young people, ensuring they become the best version of themselves.”
She is responsible for recuriting and supporting the young volunteers on the programme and has ensured all roles are flexible around young peoples other commitments.
The volunteers are also due to promote themselves – by creating and starring in a promotional video for the NHS volunteers service.
Fiona added: “This project is fantastic and I am in a role that the Trust have never had before. I am so excited for what’s to come over the next 18 months and can’t wait to watch the project develop and the young volunteers flourish.”
All volunteers receive specific training to their role and have the capability to acess internal NHS jobs and the chance to gain their care certificate if required.
One young volunteer who wants to work in medicine, said: “Personally, I really wanted to help patients to feel loved and cared for. I realise how lucky we are to live in an area with a free, reliable health service and I wanted to be part of something that primarily focuses on the wellbeing of their patients – this wasn’t available for my grandparents.”
Another said: “I wanted to volunteer to get a taste of what life is like on the wards to help begin my medical career and to know that it is something I want to continue.”