Voluntary Norfolk health & wellbeing volunteers offer support and companionship to people who experience social isolation or face the challenge of a long term health condition in South Norfolk, Breckland and North Norfolk. They help to improve physical and emotional health, wellbeing and independence.
It is easy for anyone to become socially isolated and need extra support after an illness, operation or challenging health diagnosis or to manage progressive, long-term health conditions. Routines can change, independence and confidence can be affected and people, especially those without support networks from friends or family, can become housebound and isolated.
Our health & wellbeing volunteers offer practical and emotional support, to help people adjust to these life events and regain the confidence and motivation they need to manage their own health & wellbeing, improving both their independence and their quality of life.
Our volunteers can visit a person at home, in a care home, in supported accommodation or in a public place e.g. a cafe. Together they can go for a walk, share interests and activities or the volunteer can assist the person they visit with correspondence or other daily living activities. Visiting arrangements can last from a few weeks up to 6 months and many longer-term friendships have developed as a result.
What does a health & wellbeing volunteer do?
Our Health Volunteers:
- Enable people to carry out day-to-day activities
- Assist with managing long-term health conditions
- Encourage healthy eating and activity
- Help people access information and services
- Enable people to retain or develop social activities
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.
How do I access the service?
GPs, health professionals, community connectors, integrated care coordinators, social workers and Norfolk County Council community development workers can all refer clients to the Voluntary Norfolk health and wellbeing service.
A variety of care and support agencies e.g. homecare or daycare services, housing authorities and charitable organisations can also refer into the service.
People wishing to access the service, either for themselves, a friend or family member, should speak to a worker or organisation listed above that they are in regular contact with or phone the Better Together Norfolk helpline on 0300 303 3920 in order to discuss their needs and possible referral.
Workers wishing to know more about the service or its referral process, should please contact their local coordinator (see below).
How do I become a health & wellbeing volunteer?
Volunteers need to be over 18 years old, have a good sense of humour, a caring nature and be prepared to make a regular commitment.
Voluntary Norfolk will need two character references and will apply for an enhanced DBS check (there is no charge for volunteers) before you are registered as a volunteer and paired with a client. Induction training and ongoing support will be provided and also the opportunity to meet other volunteers in the service at events throughout the year advertised within our quarterly volunteer newsletter.
If you enjoy meeting new people and would like to support others in your local community please contact your local coordinator (see below) to find out more. You can also express interest via our Volunteer Portal; just search ‘health volunteer’ on the portal to find opportunities near you.
South Norfolk Team
Karl Hills, Long Stratton
Emma Barkshire, Wymondham, Attleborough and Dereham
Jane Hawker, Thetford and Thetford Villages
Emma-Louise Hearn – Diss and Dereham
North Norfolk Team
Debbie Chinman – Acle, Lingwood, Stalham
Emma-Louise Hearn – Sheringham, Holt, Fakenham
Jodie Blaker – 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