An Insight to Adam’s views on Volunteering and the Health Champions Programme.
Tell me a little about yourself & how you got into volunteering and Health Champions?
My name is Adam, and before I got involved with the Health Champions programme I was unemployed, having previously attained a degree in Psychology. I wanted to start volunteering because I wanted to do something, to keep myself active and to keep in the routine of work. As I am very interested in the area of mental health, it seemed logical for me to venture into that area. I did a little research, and found out about the Health Promotion Service and consequently the Health Champions volunteering opportunities.
The things that drew me to the programme were the values of the organisation itself, and the broad range of areas I could volunteer within in addition to opportunities for growth via access to training courses. I applied through do-it.org.uk.
What were your expectations of the Health Champions programme
I can honestly say I had little expectations prior to volunteering about the programme, but that is because I generally try to approach things with no expectations that may ultimately colour my perception of the experience. If anything, I hoped that the whole thing would be worthwhile.
Were your expectations met?
I have found volunteering as a Health Champion worthwhile and fulfilling, so on that basis I would say my expectations have been met.
What aspects of Health Champions do you find the most rewarding?
I find the most rewarding aspect of volunteering for this programme to be the sense that whatever work you are doing, you are in some way contributing towards or involved in the cycle of promoting and/or informing others about health, which may ultimately lead some people to adopt a healthier lifestyle, abstain from a harmful addiction etc. In short, keeping people informed enough to make the right choices for them and helping them to live happier, healthier lives. I can think of few other things which have such merit and cause.
Are there any challenges you have found through volunteering on the Health Champion Programme?
The only challenge I have really had on the programme has been an internal one, namely my confidence. I am not or have never been the most confident of people, but volunteering on this programme has helped. I feel a lot more comfortable talking to people now than I have in the past.
Are their any aspects of Health Champions you don’t like?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Health Champion so far, and can honestly say there are no aspects that I haven’t enjoyed. The people, the work, not to mention the variety of training opportunities available and opportunities for personal growth has culminated into a completely positive experience.
Will Volunteering help your future aspirations?
Volunteering has already helped me, as I now have a part time job which I did not have before. With regards to the future, I can say that my volunteering has had a positive impact and even an influence on the kind of work I can see myself doing in the future.
Health Promotion has been lucky enough to have Eileen volunteering within the department since 2010. She has helped numerous projects across the service and throughout Cornwall.
Here is a little insight into her volunteering experience.
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into volunteering?
Well I worked as a hospital and community midwife for 40 years. In 2007 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Not long after this I became involved with Mobilise as a cycle support rider. Unfortunately the funding for Mobilise came to an end and Tracey (Physical Activity Specialist for Health Promotion’s, Healthy Weight Team) told me about helping out at the Weight Matters sessions, that I could participate and learn how to have a healthier lifestyle.
Why did you volunteer for Weight Matters in particular?
I was bullied into it!!!!!
No, because I was asked and because it would benefit my health.
What were your expectations from volunteering with us?
Fun, while meeting new people. Feeling of being helpful, and I haven’t got the responsibility upon me like I did in my previous work.
Were your expectations met?
Oh yes! Lots of banter and tea and coffee!
What aspects of volunteering would you consider your most rewarding?
Being part of a team. Being able to work with many different projects of health promotion. Also through helping out at the circuit classes I’ve become a lot fitter.
What challenges did you find from volunteering?
Working with some challenging individuals on the weight matters groups and having to stay positive for the client group.
Where do you find yourself today?
Thoroughly enjoying life, having made a lot of new friends and having some interesting challenges.
What does the future hold?
Keep calm and carry on!! And get even fitter!