Meet our volunteers
At Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (CWPT) we recognise the invaluable contribution of our volunteers who dedicate their skills, time, and expertise to support the trust, our staff, and patients across a wide range of roles and services.
Volunteers fulfil several important roles within the trust and can help people throughout their journey with us from their first visit, through to treatment and recovery, helping staff to provide the best care at every step. Volunteers make a difference to our patients, not by doing the job of staff members, but by adding value and supporting them.
Read the inspiring stories of some of our current and past volunteers below.
Harjinder Dukhi- Ward Support Volunteer
“I am immensely proud that I have applied to become a Ward Volunteer for CWPT NHS Trust, this has been a huge milestone for me as in April 2019 I was an inpatient to two acute psychiatric wards within the Trust. For me being a volunteer is me being able to give back to the Trust for the fantastic level of care and support I had received from the kind and devoted Consultant, Junior Doctors, Nurses, HCA’s and Activity Co-ordinators at The Caludon Centre. I had set myself a goal to become a volunteer after I became mentally stable and was discharged for which I have successfully achieved. Mental health has since become a keen interest of mine and being able to beat the stigma of mental health especially in BAME groups. I have also partnered up with the Director of a local community football group BWFC to encourage more people to talk about their emotions, feelings and their mental health and ensure people don’t suffer in silence and knowing there is a pool of support to help each and every person. I have also attended It Takes Balls to Talk two step training. The Trust has also provided me the opportunity to become a Mental Health First Aider. Thank you.”
John Walker MBE - Veterans Support Worker Volunteer
“When I left the Royal Navy in 2015 after 35 years, I struggled with the transition to civilian life, diagnosed with PTSD and adjustment disorder I eventually became a drug and alcohol recovery worker. I did this for two years then semi-retired living on my Armed Forces pension. I volunteered for a local military charity but was looking for more of a challenge. During my difficult transition and as a drug and alcohol recovery worker I had come across many Veterans who were struggling with their transition and mental health.
I had already worked alongside Op Courage, NHS Veterans Mental Health as a professional and decided to volunteer with them. I volunteered in the middle of a world-wide pandemic , this meant the process was quite protracted through the fault of no one, however the support I got from the volunteering team was fantastic. I eventually became a volunteer for the High Intensity Service, Op Courage.
The High Intensity Service work with UK Armed Forces Veterans who are in crisis and provide stabilisation to enable further therapy to be carried out as required by the Complex Treatment Service (CTS).
This was the challenge I was looking for, the job satisfaction was incredible and as a volunteer I could contribute as little or as much as I felt I could commit.
For the first time since leaving the Royal Navy I felt I belonged and fitted in somewhere, my lived experience of not only my service in the RN but of my personal struggle has proved valuable, so they tell me, by the team.
I have been amazed by the professionalism, compassion, loyalty, and dedication the teams of Op Courage have to the Veteran community they serve, many of the core values of the NHS reflect those of the Armed Forces.
A few weeks ago, vacancy came up on the team for a full time Peer Support Worker, I applied for the position and was successful, I am now a full-time employee of Op Courage, this was directly attributable to the fact I had volunteered, although quite rightly I was treated like every other candidate who applied. Even if I had not secured the position I would have continued to volunteer because I truly found focus and purpose in my life and for that I will be eternally grateful.”
Nikki Kanye- Admin Support Volunteer
“With the world going through a pandemic, I had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to give back to the community, so I joined CWPT as a volunteer. CWPT feels like home, I felt a part of the family from the very first day. I have gained so much knowledge during my voluntary sessions, my communication skills have improved, and I feel confident. The trust always supports all the volunteers as much as workers through engagement meetings and free training. Everyone is respectful, kind and follow the Trust core values.
I had a placement at Highfield house for over 18 months and it was nothing short of amazing. I worked alongside the ward manager and the occupational therapist and some of the duties I undertook included updating staff folders, keeping the notice boards with up-to-date information, taking minutes during meetings, and doing Q&As with the patients.
I have had the great honour of being invited and attended the APNA 2-day conference this year. It was hugely educating and mind blowing. I learnt a lot and met a lot of amazing people.
My placement at Highfield house ended and I have recently started at the loft in Nuneaton. I have met wonderful colleagues and feel part of the team. I have also had a couple of trainings on my ESR which is beneficial to me and my progression.”
Jan joined the trust in 2020 and worked as a volunteer during the pandemic providing valuable admin support to CWPT and the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy.
“I have volunteered for Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and the Recovery and Wellbeing Academy this last year. I’ve been pleased to help in small ways especially through COVID-19, to help others. My journey began in September 2020 over the telephone and Zoom. I briefly and occasionally met and engaged with many wonderful people and felt pleased to assist with mental health and wellbeing where I could! I felt welcomed into the team.
So, for a morning or so a week, I come into the office to reply to some emails, make some phone calls and mostly post letters, items, and information for the NHS internally or externally.
There is always a friendly welcome from those around. It is all for a good purpose and nearly a year on I’m still here with a helping hand.
Mostly, I help with admin based in Coventry and assist with recovery and wellbeing correspondence. Recently, I joined a gardening team at the very place I began my volunteering in Nuneaton. It’s proving valuable work experience for me within mental health as well as being a small, helpful cog in a very big wheel, one which needs to keep turning!”
Emily moved to the UK three years ago. Volunteering with CWPT helped her to gain valuable experience in mental health, leading her to secure a permanent position.
“I have been interested in psychology and mental health since I was very young. I am originally from Mexico and developed my career as a health psychologist and participated in some mental health research projects in Mexico City. When I moved to England almost three years ago, I was very enthusiastic about the opportunity of continuing my career path, but I was unsure where to start and how to transfer my skills to a different country and language. My first step was to work as a care assistant in a private setting, and I realised that becoming a volunteer for CWPT was a very interesting way of not only learning more about the people and culture, but the best form of contributing and obtaining the experience I needed to return to my career in mental health.
I joined the trust during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a time of uncertainty and change. I had a different experience from what I would have had in normal times; I had to work from home, join the team and interact with colleagues and service users through video or phone calls, however, I found my team very supportive and motivated.
Volunteering gave me the opportunity to work with an amazing research team and understand the responsibility and determination required to achieve study objectives. I was tasked with speaking to service users and their carers to comprehend their needs, perspectives, and individual experiences around their access to mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst I was volunteering, I applied for a full-time position in the trust, and I secured a paid role in the Mental Health Community and Wellbeing Services Team. I am certain that my role as a volunteer gave me the chance of gaining the experience and training I needed to continue forward with my objectives.”
Coffee & Chatz Volunteer Manager, Ann, began volunteering at St Michael’s Hospital in Warwick after she retired 21 years ago and has been with us ever since.
“Volunteering at St Michael's gives a sense of purpose and fulfilment. The customers are many and varied. Some just want a coffee or to peruse the cosmetics or shower gels and move on, while others want a sounding block, either about their relative or friend, who might be a service user, or they may just want someone to talk to. All conversations are in strict confidence and we get to know some of the customers very well, even to the point of really missing them when they recover and move on. Sadly, some patients return but they never forget us, and we never forget them.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant the ‘Coffee & Chatz’ shop had to close for lockdown, which meant isolation for the volunteers as well as the patients, but now we are back and building relationships again.”
CWPT have a wide range of volunteer roles available across Coventry, Warwick, Solihull and Nuneaton. These include meeting and greeting at reception desks, answering non-clinical queries, ward roles, helping patients to participate in activities such as gardening or art and crafts, and helping to maintain services in coffee shops.