Volunteering as a Community Health Advocate
Peter Simonson, local Camden resident, began volunteering with VAC on the volunteer Heath Advocacy Project.
Here Peter tells us about the difference the project is making in the community, and how volunteering has helped him gain valuable skills in the public health field.
I’ve had quite long, interesting conversations with people about what their needs are. You get the instant acknowledgement that you’re helping someone.
One of the major reasons I wanted to volunteer is because of the sheer boredom of getting up and trying to find some structure to your day when you’re unemployed. If you have a goal during your day you’re using your time well.
The Health Advocacy volunteering came up at a time when I was getting antsy about not doing much. I wanted to get a job in the public health field so then having the opportunity of doing something in public health, which is a field I had worked and volunteered in in the past was really good, but I really needed to get more experience in the area to get more work. Volunteering was another job I could add to my CV to do with public health.
It’s very different because previously I was doing research and it was desk bound. So having to go out to GP surgeries and actively approach people to see what you could do to help them – it took a bit of getting used to but once you get into the flow of it it’s pretty easy.
I’ve had quite long, interesting conversations with people about what their needs are. You get the instant acknowledgement that you’re helping someone – helping someone get some advice or get in touch with a support group or giving them information about a place they need to go or information about where to find exercise classed etc.
You do get the feeling that you’re putting back something into the community where you can see that hopefully it has an effect, whether that’s immediate or long-term.
Peter has since gone on to find paid work and continues to volunteer for VAC on the Health Advocacy Project.