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Created by Christabel Jay - Last updated a month ago | Tags:

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11 August 2020 at 11:16am

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I thought I'd get a discussion going on potential ideas for future webinars with the Network. As engaged members, I'm sure we all think of a topic or idea. There are a few ideas I had and thought I'd mention below and to also generate discussion.

Having friends and family within the LGBTQ+ Community and wanting to educate myself further, I listened to NHS Confed's webinar: 'Responding to LGBTQ inequalities during COVID-19 and beyond'. https://www.nhsconfed.org/reso... it was really insightful and with over 500 attendees at one point, it shows there's an engaged audience for collaboration and to make a difference. I wondered if we could cover health and care volunteers within the LGBTQ+ communities.

For some health and care organisations or hospitals, I understand certain departments have had to delay or even stand down older adults who volunteer due to the pandemic. But, does that mean there is then an opportunity to look at reducing the minimum age of volunteering in health and care? I know some do and as an example, volunteer alongside studies or summer programs. Youth volunteering could be a good topic.

Outside of work, Inclusion & Diversity is something I am paying particular attention to. Generally speaking, volunteers provide the link between their organisation/hospital and the local community. So, how does your organisation or hospital ensure the range of volunteers recruited reflects some kind of policy or inclusive and diverse code of practice?
Two years ago, the volunteering team at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust had a great, diverse group of volunteers and they won the Inclusion and Diversity category for Helpforce Awards two years ago. As well as the Therapeutic care volunteers from South Tees NHS Foundation Trust in 2019. Perhaps @pat-hunt and @jonathan-maddison (Sandwell & West Bham) or @debi-mckeown (South Tees) would be able to share some comments on this particular topic suggestion?

While we're on the topic of Inclusion and Diversity, there is still time to submit your story to The Big Thank You to Volunteers (https://helpforce.community/thebigthankyoutovolunteers/) and we'd love to know about a volunteer group or project who pioneer Inclusion and Diversity. An individual volunteer who's actively promoting inclusion or diversity within health and care volunteering, we'd love to hear from you! Any questions, let me know!

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11 August 2020 at 6:15pm

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Inclusion & Diversity – Yes, we won that award two years ago and yet we have increased our activity with regards to the diverse volunteers that we recruit. We give all our volunteers the opportunity to take up or turn down training or other opportunities to volunteer in other areas not discriminating against anyone and allowing the individuals to make their decisions, where they are able to and if not under terms and conditions from other organisations i.e. schools, colleges etc.

I am pleased to say we still have a very diverse volunteer service and currently (well prior to Covid), we have volunteers that have either special educational or physical needs. We are working with our local schools and colleges to give their students an opportunity to volunteer where they may have a special interest e.g. catering, finance and other areas. The students are not always able to do work experience but volunteering gives them an opportunity to gain what they need. Some may only be able to be volunteers, however, others will go on to get paid employment, and that is the reason why we are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity. The value added to our service by having a diverse volunteer team is amazing – nothing works better than you seeing someone that is like you. It is both refreshing and reflects the community that we are a part of.

12 August 2020 at 10:37am

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Thanks for replying @pat-hunt. Hopefully, your diverse volunteer service can be reinstated when it is deemed safe to do so. How do you stay in touch or keep them engaged when they’re not volunteering? Do you think it’s worth having a webinar covering this sort of topic of inclusion and diversity?

Also, so glad to read about your students volunteering and then it leads to employment = extremely powerful and reassuring during these uncertain times.

12 August 2020 at 1:37pm

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Just to clarify Jo, the students are getting valuable experience that makes some of them employable, not all may be able to work and will continue volunteering.

The students are eager to come back. We have one or two meeting and greeting at them moment but others just want to come back to what they were doing.

Our supported interns have a mentor with them most of the time when they are on site, reducing their time with the student when they are confident and comfortable in their environment. One of our supported interns was interested in Finance and he did the first few months meeting and greeting and then in collaboration with Learning and Development (in our Trust), we were able to place him in Finance for the second part of his supported internship, the team and managers were so impressed they mentioned it to the director and she was very keen to get him in on a apprenticeship.

Inclusion and Diversity – do I think we should have a webinar covering this topic? – I certainly do and look forward to it.

12 August 2020 at 1:42pm

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Sorry – meant to say over this period with COVID-19, we have kept in touch by emails etc., however, during the volunteers week, we had zoom sessions with as many volunteers that wanted to join us. We did a couple of coffee break sessions and a quiz evening, all went really well and to be honest I am thinking of doing this again. We also sent out thank you post cards and we did a little thank you video that included all the Volunteer service team and some of the managers that have had volunteers on their wards or in their departments. I definitely think zoom is the way to go, attracts the young and more mature of our volunteers.

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