Why I volunteer - four students explain why they got involved with Healthwatch

Volunteering is great way to make new friends, learn new skills and make a difference in your community. Find out why students Jo, Sophie, Poppy and Emma got involved with Healthwatch West Sussex.
A female volunteer talking to an elderly lady at a community event.

Making a difference

Jo began volunteering with Healthwatch West Sussex to help her with her college course.

"I volunteered with Healthwatch West Sussex to compliment my college studies. I was interested and keen to help, but my main motivation was to help me pass my course!

Then something happened. By being involved, I got to know what the organisation did, how the team of staff and volunteers make a difference in championing young people’s voices and making sure services truly listened to them.

I would recommend volunteering with Healthwatch. It’s accessible, flexible and there’s so much to find out that I was completely oblivious to!

Supporting Healthwatch made me feel that I made a difference which was brilliant. And it helped me pass my course!

Encouraging others to share their views

Sophie and Poppy were part of the inspiration behind the Healthwatch West Sussex Youth Pack - they thought “it’d be good to have more information for schools”. They volunteered for Healthwatch as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

"As we’ve learnt about Healthwatch, we’ve shared information with our peers at school and at Guides – we hope we’ve helped to spread the word and that more young people will share their views with Healthwatch”. They had already used their creative skills to design a student friendly poster, and this is now an integral resource in the Youth Pack.

"We have enjoyed getting to know about Healthwatch and how much it can do to make services better and make sure young people have a say in how services are run. I think all our friends should know about Healthwatch."

Creating useful information

Emma and a team of students called Mind & Soul, created a guidance leaflet for young people.

"I volunteered for Healthwatch so that my experiences could be shared with other young people who may be struggling with their self-esteem. I wanted to encourage talking about self-esteem and to spread positivity to teenagers who often struggle to open-up and discuss issues.

When I spoke to Healthwatch, they told me they were making a youth pack for schools, and I became interested in creating a leaflet including hints and tips for boosting self-esteem, the benefits of sports on mental health, and tips for dealing with exam stress.

It’s amazing that Healthwatch like our work so much! I couldn’t wait to see the finished version of the leaflet and created some original artwork to support the themes. It’s been used for National Citizen Scheme (NCS) presentations, shared at Fresher’s Fairs and is part of the Youth Pack. I’d love to work with Healthwatch West Sussex again in the future. They were very supportive.

I hope this leaflet goes on to make a difference and help stop other young people going through what I did. I think that mental health is really important, and something we all need to open up about and discuss.

I’m happy that sharing my story can help others, and I’m proud of what we achieved. Thank you for letting us be a part of the change to help young people open-up!"

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