A VOLUNTEERS STORY
John had previous volunteer experience and was approached by Lancashire Wellbeing Service’s volunteer coordinator, Claire Hewitson to join her team.
He was assigned to work with one of the services Wellbeing Workers, Wendy, supporting individuals in the Chorley & South Ribble area. John's commitment is a minimum of three hours per week, supporting Wendy’s caseload with practical tasks to help service users to improve their health and wellbeing e.g. accompanying people to appointments, health walks, groups and activities or helping to access local support services.
Wendy says, “John has been a tremendous support, leading a number of sessions by accompanying clients on activities, research opportunities to engage in the community, often taking time to produce creative and attractive information sheets and always shows a real commitment to supporting LWS clients. Two cases in particular illustrate how John’s role as a volunteer is making a positive impact on people’s lives.
A gentleman called Tony* at Meadowfield rehabilitation unit where he was receiving care due to mobility issues after a spell in hospital. Not long before Tony went into hospital his wife had sadly passed away, leaving him feeling very lonely and socially isolated. After an initial discussion with Tony we began support through the LWS with a number of practical tasks for when he left the unit and went back home. Tony’s working life had included a productive role with Lancashire County Council and he really missed the opportunity to engage in conversations around this. Also he missed an involvement with his other great passion … cricket, as his decreasing mobility and family commitments meant he was unable to watch the sport live.
One week John was covering for our regular weekly volunteer minibus driver on the pickup run to Meadowfield and while chatting with Tony about their past professional careers also found they shared a passion for cricket. After this John started visiting Tony once a week as a community volunteer at his home. John is also involved with Penwortham Cricket Club, close to Tony so John took him along to the club and Tony has begun attending a number of social groups and luncheon clubs during the week. This has been a real boost to Tony, who now feels a lot less isolated. A fantastic bonus to this story is that seeing the benefit of John’s support for her father, Tony’s daughter has become a Lancashire Wellbeing Service volunteer herself.
Wendy adds another, similar story of John’s value as a volunteer. “John attended an initial assessment for a gentleman called Chris* who suffers with spinal problems which has affected his mobility. Chris previously led a very active, energetic lifestyle including running, sailing and off-road cycling and wanted new activities which would accommodate his disability and satisfy his adrenalin rush craving. John took the time to research and put together a list of possible activities for Chris and went through them with him. Chris is now looking forward to becoming a member of the sailing club.
Perhaps the most dramatic intervention by John, so far, was when he recently called to collect a man for his hospital appointment only to find he was seriously ill and John’s swift actions in calling an ambulance and staying with him until it came, probably saved his life.
Claire Hewitson sums up what we feel about John and his value, not just to the service but also to the community, “John’s a real asset to the Lancashire Wellbeing Service and a great example for volunteers. It’s a pleasure to nominate him for this award but he’s already a star with us.”
* We have given Tony and Chris assumed names for the purpose of publishing their cases.