The heartbeat of local communities, volunteers, are selflessly dedicating their time and efforts across Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. With over 100 active volunteers, they offer invaluable support to patients, services, and staff, painting a portrait of compassionate care.

Last year, volunteers with the Starting Well Partnership, a consortium focused on securing the best start in life for children and families, pledged more than 685 hours to assist families, children, and young people. Their endeavours didn’t go unnoticed as they clinched the coveted Volunteer of Year Award at the Trust's 2022 awards ceremony. This recognised their indispensable role during the pandemic in providing reassurance to parents navigating challenging times.

Sue Harris, Director of Strategy and Partnership, praised volunteers, stating, "From tending to outdoor spaces, helping critique and redesign services, to aiding our recruitment, each volunteer is a treasure to us." She emphasised that the Trust would be diminished without the unique perspectives and advice of the volunteers.

Within the Starting Well Partnership, the value added by volunteers and peer support workers is immense. They contribute in diverse ways, from leading support groups for breastfeeding parents to assisting in the delivery of community hub activities. Maria Harrison, a Breast Buddy Peer Supporter, shared her volunteer experience saying, "Seeing the immediate impact of the knowledge I've shared is rewarding. It makes a difference to make a difference."

Volunteer week, taking place from the 1st to 7th of June each year, offers an opportunity to applaud these contributions. Not only does volunteering bolster local services, but it also enhances the mental health and wellbeing of volunteers themselves, fostering community connections and combating isolation and loneliness.

The Trust provides a plethora of volunteering opportunities, ranging from joining the Youth Board to empower young voices, to the Experts by Experience roles, enabling those with lived experiences of mental ill-health to share their insights and shape services.

For those considering volunteering, the Starting Well Partnership website presents a wealth of information about available roles within the partnership.