Health & Wellbeing Volunteers bring support and friendship to South Norfolk, Breckland and North Norfolk residents who experience social isolation or who face the challenge of long term health conditions.
Loneliness can have a detrimental impact on well-being. Our service thus helps to increase well-being and the quality of life for the most vulnerable in our communities. Social isolation can affect anyone and our service therefore supports clients from diverse backgrounds. However, it is easy to become socially isolated after an illness, bereavement or major life event. The chances also increase for those who are elderly. Many of the people we support are therefore older and frequently suffer with ill health or are just lonely.
If you are interested in becoming part of our team of Volunteers, search ‘Health Volunteer’ on our Volunteer Portal for current opportunities or contact a member of our staff. Read more about the role of Volunteers below.
What is involved?
Health Volunteers meet regularly, offering companionship and support. They visit a person at home, in a care home or in supported accommodation. They can go for a walk, or simply share interests and activities with the person they visit.
Our Health Volunteers support people in the local community by:
- Providing companionship on a regular basis, and encouraging social interaction
- Enabling participants to carry out activities by encouraging confidence
- Assist with managing health conditions including recovery after injury or major life event
- Undertaking active and healthy tasks with the person such as walking
The emphasis of the service is very much on the social and relational – volunteers do things ‘with’ their clients rather than ‘for’ them. Furthermore, volunteers are not expected to deliver any personal or medical care nor undertake any financial transactions. Visiting arrangements can officially last up to 18 months, but many longer-term friendships have developed as a result.
Volunteers need to be over 18 years old, have a good sense of humour, caring nature and be prepared to make a regular commitment. We need two character references and will apply for an enhanced DBS check (there is no charge for volunteers). Induction training and ongoing support will be provided and also opportunity to meet other volunteers of the service through various events throughout the year advertised within or quarterly volunteer newsletter.
If you enjoy meeting new people and would like to support others in your local community please contact your local coordinator to find out more. You can also express interest via our Volunteer Platform; just search ‘health volunteer’ on the portal and find opportunities near you.
People wishing to access the service, either for themselves or for a friend or family member, should in the first instance contact their GP or a health professional that they see regularly in order to discuss their needs.
The client will then be assessed to see if they meet the criteria for the service. Referrals can be made via social care teams, self-referral, GP’s, housing authorities and some other charities/voluntary sector service providers working in the relevant fields. For further information on the referral process, please contact us.
South Norfolk Team
Karl Hills, Long Stratton, Diss and Dereham
David Smythe, Wymondham and Attleborough
Jane Hawker, Thetford
North Norfolk Team
Debbie Chinman – Acle, Lingwood, Stalham
Inge Holden – Sheringham, Holt, Fakenham
Natalie Hickman – Cromer, Aylsham, Spixworth
Find staff contact details under Health and Social Care Team in Our Team
Funding and Partners
South Norfolk and North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups