Our Volunteer Louise shares her experience of volunteering with us, the things she has learned, and how it was an eye opener to help her think about future career options.
I joined Healthwatch Lambeth to get some experience of working in the public health field, and as part of my volunteering requirement for my university degree in health and wellbeing. I came across the volunteering opportunity when I googled “public health volunteering” and Healthwatch Lambeth came up on the feed. The website was very easy to navigate and within in seconds I was on the phone scheduling an induction date with other volunteers. The session was very welcoming and informative. I was asked what experience I wanted, and was allocated a supervisor based on my area of interest. The team made it very easy to start volunteering. I had no idea what to expect as this is my first time volunteering for an organisation, but I am very happy I went with Healthwatch.
My work here consists mainly of outreach, which involves attending a range of events for Lambeth residents, to promote the aims and benefits of the organization. During the events I engaged with a wide range of people from different jobs and backgrounds such as Healthwatch trustees and other people involved in the organizations. This helped me get a perspective of how various people work together and what roles they play to make things happen.
I was also invited to take part in an ‘Enter and view’ project, but was unable to attend due to conflicting times with my university timetable. However, I am still very interested in learning how Healthwatch assesses the care provided in services by talking to staff, service user and their families, and how the thing people say are used to improve services. So next year I hope to take part in an enter and view project.
On the 20th of November 2019, Healthwatch Lambeth held an Annual general meeting. My role as a volunteer was to welcome guest and contribute when workshops were taken place, which was a great opportunity to meet a range of people working in the health and charity sector. I was also asked to be the scribe during the work shop and later asked to present the information discussed. I agreed as this opportunity allowed me to think under pressure and build my confidence in public speaking.
Whilst my required volunteering hours are completed, I decided to carry on with Healthwatch as I feel there is still a lot I can learn. For example, for the new website launch in February 2020, I was given the opportunity to help develop content, which is something I have never practice before. I am looking forward to the challenges I may face and that I will do my best to overcome.
In the short amount of time I have been volunteering at Healthwatch, I have learnt a great deal in public health and developed many transferable skills, especially my communications skills. I have also been able to identify and apply theories I have learnt during my time at university such as Maslow Hierarchy of Needs to real life scenarios.
I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained and looking forward to continuing this experience here at Healthwatch Lambeth. The experience allowed me to witness how an organization works to improve the community. This experience was a real eye opener as I was able to see the range of opportunities and jobs available once I graduate. I am now more aware of different organizations I may work with, and the type of work I would be doing. I have identified from the experience that I thrive more in a more social environment. This will be useful when I later apply for jobs once I graduate.
If you want to learn more about our volunteering offer, or want to apply, get in touch!
You can get an overview of our volunteering roles here, or get in touch with our volunteer coordinator Ellie for a chat.
Please note that Ellie works Mondays to Wednesdays.