Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June each year, is a time for charities to say thank you to all volunteers! Over the past exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and in doing so have made a huge difference to people and their communities.
Commenting on Volunteers’ Week 2021, Helen Forrest, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Scotland said:
Children’s Health Scotland wouldn’t exist without volunteers who are integral to providing governance, helping us to support vulnerable children and young people, and enhancing the communities we live in. The act of volunteering itself is inspirational and a wish to support the communities in which we live. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge hank you to all those who take the time to volunteer and make our communities better places.
Recently children and young people taking part in the services provided by Children’s Health Scotland have asked if they can volunteer to support the charity.
“SMS:CONNECT was first launched in early 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr Laura Smith, Head of Children’s Health and Wellbeing Services at Children’s Health Scotland. “We have now successfully run eight programmes, supporting over 80 children and young people across Scotland, some of whom have since volunteered with us to help others. One way they can do this is by sharing their Digital Story which is created in the final session of the programme. Their Digital Story can be about anything they like. For example Lucy, who took part in our most recent Winter 2021 Programme, made an amazing Digital Story about her health conditions and what friends and family could do to support her. Following the programme Lucy then allowed us to share her story with others and has now asked if she can volunteer with us, which is fantastic.”
Lucy is a teenager living in East Lothian with long-term health conditions. Lucy was finding it hard to deal with her diagnoses and created her digital story to help her friends, family and teachers understand her conditions and how they affect her.
“I gained so much from taking part in the SMS:CONNECT Programme from not being confident about speaking about my health conditions to being able to be open and honest with the people in my life. The Programme gave me a sense of reassurance that I am not the only one. I have gained so much knowledge for example learning about my Health Rights and how to cope when feeling stressed or anxious. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without the Programme and the support that comes with it. I am hoping to fundraise for Children’s Health Scotland over the Summer and also be a peer mentor to support younger children go through the Programme.”
The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering. However, the coronavirus pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by Britain’s volunteers.
To find out more about volunteers’ week visit https://volunteersweek.org/
There are several ways you can help as a volunteer with Children’s Health Scotland.
- You could help in the running of our charity by joining our Executive Committee which meets every six to eight weeks in Edinburgh.
- You may be able to help publicise and promote our work by staffing stalls at conferences and other events.
- You may have experience of our healthcare system as a parent, patient or as a healthcare professional. We are often asked to provide the patient or parent perspective on local NHS committees and groups. You may be interested in representing us on one of these committees.
- You could help by raising funds for Children’s Health Scotland, for example, by organising a coffee morning or by organising a local fundraising event.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Children’s Health Scotland, please visit https://www.childrenshealthscotland.org/how-you-can-help/become-a-volunteer/