Fatemeh has been volunteering with Healthwatch Birmingham since 2014 as a Community Engagement Volunteer.
“I have really enjoyed volunteering and being able to reach out to vulnerable people who are left behind in our society; listen to their experiences and enable their voice to be heard by decision makers,” Fatemeh explains. Fatemeh was initially drawn into this role as it was highly relevant to her Public Health studies; she wanted to gain relevant work experience and develop her practical skills.
“As well as improving my career prospects, I have also improved my communication, active listening and problem solving skills, whilst talking to the general public about their sensitive experiences of using different health and social care services.” Fatemeh says that the best thing about volunteering has been feeling that she has been able to help others.
Gillian came across Healthwatch Birmingham at an event, where she spoke to staff about her difficult experience of using a local community healthcare service.
“Healthwatch Birmingham helped me contact the service. I’m so glad I spoke up, as the issues with the service were also impacting on other people’s lives. The service has now made a massive improvement and it’s almost unrecognisable.” This positive experience inspired Gillian to become a Community Engagement Volunteer.
Gillian has volunteered with Healthwatch Birmingham since 2014, and says that volunteering has had a positive impact on her wellbeing and future prospects. “I used to work for the NHS for over 14 years, but due to my complex health issues I had to leave paid employment. Volunteering gave me the motivation to get out and mix with nice people to create positive change.”