Call for volunteers to improve health in Doncaster

Volunteering

Three months into my new role as community circles connector working with GP surgeries in Doncaster and I’ve now met with five lovely people who are living with long term health conditions.  I feel very privileged that they have given me a glimpse into their lives and shared with me the things that matter most to them.  I love this part of my new role!

The saying, never judge a book by its cover is so true.  A person’s outward appearance is usually very deceptive.  What is missing from the picture are the rich, interesting, humorous and moving life experiences that make up that individual:  like the 94-year-old woman I met who was a marathon runner in her youth and loved youth hostelling with her husband, or the man who speaks fondly of his love of wildlife and nature which developed as a child growing up in the Highlands of Scotland.

Sadly, continuous pain and the daily frustrations of living with a health problem take their toll and bring with them restricting life circumstances and sadness at the loss of a life that was once so active and full.  Research has shown that:

People living with one long term condition are two to three times more likely to develop depression than the rest of the general population.  People with three or more conditions are seven times more likely to have depression

(NICE 2009: Depression in adults with a chronic physical health problem)

Community Circles is partnering, in Doncaster, with a local care provider – Complete Care and Wellbeing Services Ltd. – and six doctors’ surgeries, to provide support to people living with long term health conditions.  The aim of these integrated health and social care teams is to provide personalised health and care support that will help people to live well at home and prevent a deterioration in their health and wellbeing.  My role as Community Circles Connector within the teams is to encourage and support people to set up their own Community Circle that will focus on that person’s strengths and existing or possible community connections.

A community circle brings together a person’s family, friends and neighbours, with a facilitator, to support conversations leading to actions that will help people to live better, happier lives.

We’re looking for volunteers who would like to work with Community Circles in Doncaster to support people who have long term health conditions.  We have two types of volunteer role:  Volunteer Facilitator and Volunteer Circle Member.

A volunteer facilitator helps to organise the monthly meetings and to keep the circle focused. They facilitate the monthly meetings by supporting the conversation, sharing ideas and helping the circle to identify specific actions from their conversation. The actions will help the person to do more of the things that really matter to them and help them to keep connected to their community. This role takes 2-3 hours a month.

A Circle member attends each monthly circle meeting, shares ideas and knowledge of local networks, and may take part in actions that make a positive difference in the person’s life.

This is a great opportunity for people who want to:

  • make a real difference to someone’s life
  • develop their own skills and experience
  • have interests, skills and hobbies they want to share with others
  • have time on their hands and would like to develop friendships themselves
  • be part of something creative and new

Don’t worry if this would be something new to you – no experience is required.  Training and ongoing support will be provided to all volunteers.  We look for volunteers from diverse backgrounds.

If you are interested and want to find out more I’d love to hear from you.  Please contact me on 07757 680869 or sharon@community-circles.co.uk.

We all have networks and skills we can bring to bear, but sometimes we need support to make the most of these.

(Ewan King, Social Care Institute for Excellence)

 

Sharon

Community Circles Connector

sharon@community-circles.co.uk

Mob:  07757 680869