“I would have been lost without support from Helpforce Network”

1st December 2023


A Q&A with Michelle Roberts, Volunteer Support Development Adviser, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust (RUH)

Michelle shares her experience as a Helpforce Network member, supported by likeminded volunteering leads in health and care.

Hi Michelle, tell us a bit about yourself.

Yes, of course. I have been a member of the Helpforce Network for nearly a year, since I started working at the RUH.

This is my first role working with volunteers. Before that, I had worked in the charity sector and I had interactions with volunteers, but was never in the position to work alongside and develop them. So when I started in this position, there was a lot to learn.

I remember the first day I joined, my line manager recommended that I sign up to be a member of the Helpforce Network right away. She suggested I use the forum and resources on the website as well as attending the webinars, as they were so useful. And she wasn’t wrong! I use them all the time whenever I need help.

Amazing. Can you tell us what you enjoy most being a member of the Helpforce Network?

So many things to choose from! But if I must pick one, it’s the peer-to-peer support. Whenever I ask Network members for help, no one has ever said to me they don’t have time to help.

I regularly attend the online focused sessions, where I learn a lot from other members. The sessions cover many topics, such as new regulations, training for volunteers, and innovative volunteering roles.

In addition, I have had great support from Sally Williams, Helpforce Network Manager.

Could you share an example of the support you get from the Helpforce Network?

Absolutely. I love the online Volunteering Role Library that the Helpforce Network offers to its members. They collect volunteering role descriptions from different NHS trusts. It’s such a good place to start when you want to know whether the role that you have in mind has already been developed somewhere else, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Final question. What advice would you give to volunteering leads in health and care who are not yet a Helpforce Network member?

Join the network! I can’t stress enough how useful being a Helpforce Network member is. You learn so much and the value of the support I get from other members is immeasurable. I would have been lost without the Helpforce Network!

If you would like to learn more about Helpforce Network, visit here.