People with a passion for seeing local health and social care services changed for the better are being sought by the county’s independent health and social care champion.

Healthwatch Dorset, which has an important role in assessing the quality of local health and social care services and influencing the design of future services, is looking for local people to form a Steering Group, consisting of volunteers who will help the team shape their workplan.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Dorset Manager, explained: “We welcome interest from all sections of the local community.  We’re looking for local people with a passionate interest in helping the local community shape the way their health and social care services are run.

“Although not essential, if people have knowledge or experience in social care, children and young people, mental health, equalities and diversity this would be beneficial.”

Steering Group members will oversee and contribute to the work programme and play a crucial role in monitoring its delivery.  The Steering Group will also play a part in supporting the organisation to adhere to its principles, purpose and vision, ensuring that it operates in a moral and ethical way.

“Volunteering increases your confidence”

Joyce Guest, former chair of Healthwatch Dorset (pictured right), is a firm believer in the benefits of volunteering. She said: “Volunteering can increase your confidence, make you feel less isolated and build up your feelings of self-worth.  It can also help those with long term medical conditions left unable to work.  It is an opportunity for them to feel useful and use time constructively.

“In my former role as Chair of Healthwatch Dorset I learnt a lot about the complexities of the organisation and management of health and social care.  During this time, I also benefited from a greater knowledge of dementia and other mental health disabilities.  I found the whole experience both educational and rewarding.  I would recommend volunteering for Healthwatch to anyone with spare time.”

Retired city banker Bob Grant-Kensley (pictured top) is also encouraging others in the county to consider volunteering with Healthwatch Dorset.  Bob from Poole has been a volunteer with Healthwatch Dorset since it was formed in 2013.

Said Bob: “When I retired, I wanted to give something back to the community.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that we are helping the public to have their say on local health and care services.”

Dedicated volunteer Lisa (pictured left) explains why she volunteers with Healthwatch Dorset: “I’m blind and I’ve been volunteering for more than 20 years for community and disability groups.  I love the fact that Healthwatch has the power to action real change, and really values my opinion.

“I help with hospital assessments and have given feedback that’s been passed to Healthwatch England and NHS England.  I feel very lucky to be part of the Healthwatch family.”

Interested?

Steering Group meetings will be held monthly in the first instance, and then subject to review.  In addition, members will need to spend about two days a month on Steering Group matters, plus emails and occasional meetings, both day-time and evening.  The role is voluntary, but all out of pocket expenses will be covered.  The term of office will be for a maximum of 3 years.

For more information about the role and specific responsibilities of a Steering Group member please click on this link to download a recruitment pack, or telephone 0300 111 0102 or email Healthwatch Dorset Manager Louise Bate: louise.bate@healthwatchdorset.co.uk