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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Southend

"It’s the chance to be a voice of the past, to prepare for the future, and to improve the now."

An image of one of our volunteers, Viv Storey

This week (Monday 3 to Sunday 9 June) we're celebrating Volunteers Week, which is a great opportunity for us to appreciate our volunteers who give up their time to help others.

We have seven volunteers at Healthwatch Southend, each of whom gives up their free time for different reasons. Viv Storey is one of our newest volunteers working within our Advisory Group and she has shared her story.

Almost two years ago, Viv retired from a 40-year-long career in health and social care, which began when she purchased a small care home in Southend.  She reflected on her extensive career, and how after diversifying from residential to homecare, her company grew to be one of the largest homecare providers in Southend. Viv’s background and insights are invaluable to the work we do.

In 2023 Viv decided to venture back into the world of health and social care by applying to volunteer with us, saying she began to “miss the busy life and being part of an ever-changing care provision”.

Viv said: “My previous life was all about work and caring for others, and after a while, you miss being around people and having a purpose in life.

"When I saw Healthwatch Southend looking for advisory members I thought I could help. My role is quite minimal at present and so far has mainly been about reading documents, making comments, or completing research tasks. I am sure as my knowledge of Healthwatch Southend grows, I might be able to help more”.

Our volunteers get involved in many different ways and with a range of tasks, varying from things to do from the comfort of their own homes to assisting us at events and visits.

When asked why she chose to volunteer with Healthwatch Southend, she commented that the most rewarding thing was “listening and giving your help to others who need it  in whatever way you can.”

She added: “Volunteers can help in many ways, for me, it was sharing my experience with those who are now ’in charge’, hoping they will listen. It’s the chance to be a voice of the past, to prepare for the future, and to improve the now. All of us hope to make a difference somehow and be wanted. Not everybody, especially me, are group or club people and eventually, you find yourself missing the life you had.”

Our volunteers support our work in many ways, and we are always looking to hear from more people who would like to get involved. If you want to find out more, visit the volunteer page on our website.


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