Patricia Kanneh-Fitzgerald – a Community Health Ambassador volunteer with Healthwatch Southwark’s Community Health Ambassadors Network – tells us about the skills she’s developed and what difference volunteering has made to her.
Which Department do you volunteer with?
Community Health Ambassadors Volunteer
Why did you decide to get involved with this volunteer team role? What did you want to get out of being involved?
I took voluntary redundancy in August 2020. While at home adhering to the strict guidelines, I decided to research on things I could do to help my mental and physical health and at the same time support others. I came across the request for Community Health Ambassadors and decided to signup. I enjoy the role and hope to continue post the Covid-19.
What skills have you developed through your experience of volunteering with the volunteer team?
* listening attentively to others. * understanding that people’s fears are real and they need empathy, education and encouragement. * Using social mediums on a regular basis. * Leadership skills – chairing meetings.
What have you learnt as a result of volunteering with Community Southwark?
* The level of deprivation in our communities * How culture and beliefs influences some of our communities decision making regarding their health and wellbeing. * We need to tailor our approaches in the way we engage with our communities as one approach does not work for all. * I have learnt a lot about my strengths and weaknesses and exploring ways I could improve my weaknesses.
As a volunteer, what do you do in your role?
* Participating in online meeting and training. * Using the resources provided by Public health to provide informed advise to my community on guidelines around the COVID-19 pandemic. * Share materials on the various social media platforms. * Always looking for opportunities to take part in community organised events to address concerns raised through misinformation. * Educate, encourage and influence families, friends and local people in my community on the uptake of the vaccination programme. * Preparing 50 hot meals on Fridays and donates to the Southwark.
Why do you like volunteering & what difference does it make to you?
It keeps me sane and happy. I am able to engage and support people who don’t engage with statutory organisations.
Join the Community Health Ambassadors Network to help and inform your community during the pandemic and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How to start your volunteer journey?
Want to volunteer bit not sure where to start? Community Southwark can help you start your volunteer journey. Book a 1to1 Volunteer Advice appointment with our Volunteer Adviser and we will help you to see what opportunities there are in the borough. We will help to match you with a charity or group that you are interested in.