Volunteers make a huge difference to our work, and we could not do what we do without them. The team of Healthwatch Camden recognises the vital role that the volunteers play and the impact they have had on the community. We are incredibly grateful for their hard work, determination, and the skillset they bring to the team, especially during this exceptionally difficult year. Thank You!
Healthwatch Camden has been working with volunteers since its beginning in 2013. The volunteers came from a range of backgrounds including an anaesthetist, a mental health nurse, mental health service user and students from local schools and universities.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented an unprecedented challenge to all. Healthwatch Camden launched an online survey to hear from residents about the impacts of the pandemic on their health and wellbeing.
An increase in the number of people furloughed, stuck at home, and a general sense of wanting to help the local community led to a record number of residents reaching out to volunteer with Healthwatch Camden.
‘Life in Lockdown Report’
Twelve volunteers helped by sharing the COVID-19 survey link with their networks including: posting to Facebook groups, sharing with mutual aid and WhatsApp groups, printing out flyers and posting them on community boards, around council estates, and at community centres, etc. Volunteers played an essential role in the success of the survey, which gathered insight from over 1,600 residents.
Additionally, one Healthwatch volunteer helped reached over 25 digitally excluded residents by administering the survey over the phone. The COVID-19 survey was mostly qualitative in nature. We relied on the help of four highly committed volunteers to develop rich qualitative insight. These volunteers were trained in qualitative analysis, developed theming frameworks for each open-ended survey question, and then analysed over 200 data points each. Healthwatch Camden’s ‘Life in Lockdown’ report can be found here.
Reaching refugees and asylum seekers
With the help of volunteers, Healthwatch Camden could do more to reach seldom heard groups and hear their stories. Over the first COVID-19 lockdown, one Healthwatch Camden volunteer, Cleo, interviewed refugees and asylum seekers over the phone, analysed the responses, and wrote a blog on the experiences of this unique group over the COVID-19 lockdown.
Faith Leaders Project
During the beginning stages of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Healthwatch Camden was commissioned by Camden & Islington Public Health to hold in-depth interviews with faith leaders across North Central London and get their perspectives on a key public health issue. This work had a short turnaround time of two weeks, which is a challenge for any small organisation like Healthwatch. With the help of two volunteers to take notes, Mary and Caroline, we were able to interview ten faith leaders and produce a comprehensive report and set of suggested next steps back to Council colleagues within the required timeframe.
Healthwatch Camden has heard from a record number of callers having difficulties accessing NHS dentistry in the wake and aftermath of the COVID-19. To better understand local NHS dental capacity and better advise residents, one of our volunteers, Amee, helped us call all NHS dentists in the borough and ask a series of questions about their availability.
We have a team of very talented and committed Trustees, who with their experience and knowledge have helped us achieve our mission and aims. We want to acknowledge their time, efforts and dedication for their valuable contribution.
There are many reasons people volunteer. For many, volunteering is a fulfilling way to give back to the community, in addition to learning new skillsets. If you are interested to volunteer with us and make a contribution towards the betterment of the community, please contact us at our email id – email@example.com