HWLincs has renewed its Investing in Volunteers Award for the second time. The charity, which works with more than 40 valued volunteers delivering the Healthwatch Lincolnshire contract and beyond, is one of just four organisations in the county to earn the prestigious mark.
This year, HWLincs had to radically adjust its approach to every aspect of its work – the most vital being how to keep its keen volunteers occupied, engaged and socially active during the months of lockdown.
HWLincs Volunteer Officer Emma Batty explains: “Supporting volunteers by holding coffee mornings, providing a weekly quiz and quarterly newsletters has helped keep them connected and engaged in the work we are doing.
“In particular the coffee mornings provide an avenue to bring together our community of volunteers to support each other. Sharing positive news and activities, the opportunity to discuss and have input into HWLincs projects, clearly makes a difference to individuals, keeping them motivated and engaged as well as reducing isolation or loss of purpose.”
For Healthwatch Lincolnshire, volunteers would regularly engage with the public in hospitals and surgeries. This was no longer possible, but HWLincs projects such as a healthcare feedback video series for CQC and the NHS Lincolnshire Citizens’ Panel allowed new ways for volunteers to get involved.
Emma explains further how volunteers adjusted their work to suit the projects available: “Our community listening volunteers have joined our reader panel in proof reading training modules, reviewing reports, GP websites and dental services.
“Volunteers continue to provide a resource that supports us to more quickly and effectively share messages with the community, service providers and commissioners, which in turn ensures we are supporting communities in understanding the current health and wellbeing environment.”
The Investing in Volunteers Award is granted by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which represents more than 15,000 organisations across England.
Investing in Volunteers Officer Adam Fox congratulated HWLincs: “Renewing an Investing in Volunteers award is a challenge at the best of times, so completing your renewal journey in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic is an excellent achievement.”
As HWLincs expands and adapts, there are more opportunities than ever to join the team of volunteers integral to helping the charity deliver its pledge to support positive change in the county.
People from all walks of life are encouraged to join up.
“We are proud to say that our volunteers are building up to be a representative mix of our localities and ethnicities in the county, with males and females in their 20s through to people in their 80s enabling us to reach new communities, opening doors for new engagement activities with a wider cohort of people,” says Emma.
“This in itself will make a huge difference to how we are able to influence positive change.”
One volunteer said: “I work with diverse communities, English is not my first language, I engage with these communities, can break down barriers because of my background”.
Celebrating HWLincs’ success, the charity’s CEO Sarah Fletcher said: “A huge thank you to all our volunteers, trustees and staff who gave their valuable time to help achieve a successful renewal.”
Get in touch with us today to discuss how you can join the team of valued volunteers.