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.
For Volunteers Awareness Week, which took place earlier this month, CWPT arranged a roadshow around trust sites to raise awareness of the fantastic support of our volunteers. In addition, all active CWPT volunteers were invited to a meeting to thank them for their continued hard work and received personal thank you notes.
There are many benefits to volunteering, from giving back to the local community, to being a valued member of a team and making a real difference to people’s lives. Some of our volunteers have even gone on to gain permanent employment within the trust following their initial post, embarking on a rewarding career in mental health.
Read the inspiring stories of some of our current and past volunteers below.
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.