NSFT's new Voluntary Services Manager is appealing for anyone interested in helping to further improve services for patients and staff to get in touch as she prepares to recruit an army of volunteers.
Eve Edwards, who joined the Trust earlier this year, hopes to attract scores of new volunteers over the coming months to fulfil a wide variety of different roles in clinics, wards and offices and support NSFT's 4,000 staff to deliver even better services.
She hopes that people from all walks of life with a few hours to spare will consider applying, with roles available in both Norfolk and Suffolk. Posts will be advertised on the Trust's website, and could include offering companionship at mealtimes, becoming a dementia buddy, playing games with patients and encouraging service users to complete surveys to help drive through improvements.
"I love working with volunteers, have an interest in mental health and also have experience of working in the NHS, so the role at NSFT was the perfect job for me," said Eve, who joined the Trust from an eating disorders charity.
"My first job has been to update and refresh our service so that we can offer new, exciting and diverse opportunities to grow our network of much-valued volunteers.
"Recruiting volunteers is a wonderful way of linking the Trust more closely with the local community, and also provides different perspectives and fresh energy. Many of our volunteers have personal experience of living with mental health issues, through volunteering they provide valuable inspiration and insight to service users and staff alike.
"Volunteering is incredibly rewarding for both volunteers themselves and the staff members who host them and, most of all, volunteers help to provide an enhanced experience for our service users and carers during their contact with our services."
"Although we have taken a break from recruiting while we've been doing that work, we will soon be ramping up our efforts to attract new volunteers to the Trust and are keen to hear from anyone who would like to help out in the future."
Around 50 volunteers currently work with NSFT, meeting and greeting service users and carers as they arrive at clinics, helping with occupational therapy sessions and visiting patients with their 'pets as therapy' dogs. They are encouraged to make use of their own skills and interests, with one keen photographer currently running teaching sessions and a complementary therapist offering Indian head massage.
Eve added: "Volunteering can really make a difference to people's lives. We always try and put each individual's skills to good use and will have roles available to suit every interest – there really will be something for everyone.
"You don't need any previous experience. All we ask is that you are empathetic and keen to meet new people and learn new skills and we'll do our best to accommodate you."
For more information about volunteering with the Trust, visit www.nsft.nhs.uk/Get-involved/Pages/Volunteers.aspx or contact Eve on 01603 421348 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.