The results are in! We asked how you felt, and this is what you said..

For Volunteers’ Week in June, we asked our volunteers to complete a satisfaction survey, to find out how they felt about their roles with Healthwatch Dorset, but also look at ways we could enhance their volunteering experience.

We want to provide our volunteers with the support and training they need, and we are constantly looking at ways to improve how we do this.

We are very pleased with the results of the satisfaction survey, with overwhelming positive responses from our volunteers, and we now recognise which areas we can work on. Here is the highlights of what you told us, you can read the full report here.

Why did you want to volunteer?

33% of our volunteers want to contribute to the local community, which is at the heart of Healthwatch Dorset’s ethos. 24% want to gain new skills, which we can help with our internal and external training. 19% said they want to share their experience and knowledge, which reflects the fact that most of our volunteers have an interest in health and social care, whether that be studying at university, a prior role within the sector, or an experience that they want to share. 14% wanted to meet new people and 10% want to gain experience for employment.

To what extent do you agree with the following statements:

79% of volunteers strongly agree that they enjoy volunteering for Healthwatch Dorset and 21% agree. Overall, everyone enjoys volunteering for Healthwatch Dorset.

We are thrilled to say that 93% of volunteers strongly agree that they feel appreciated and fulfilled in their volunteering efforts, 7% also agree. Everyone finds volunteering for Healthwatch Dorset rewarding.

Quotes from our volunteers:
  • “I have really enjoyed the projects I have been involved in and it has been great to be part of volunteering group during lockdown.”
  • “I joined Healthwatch in the middle of the virus emergency, so their activities have been very curtailed, however I was part of the Poole A&E telephone survey which I enjoyed.”
  • “My experience so far has been very positive, and I do acknowledge the support from the team at Healthwatch Dorset”
  • “Volunteer Officer Holly is so lovely and welcoming!”
  • “Fantastic support.”

How do you rate your experience as a volunteer:

The overall experience of the volunteers is very good at 86%, with 14% also agreeing it is good.

Training

Comments on training from our volunteers:

  • “Training should be geared to health and social care.”
  • “Following the virtual walk through I am confident that I can with support access a range of training.”

Thinking about training, is anything else that would help you in your role?

  • “The training I’ve received to date has been excellent considering the restrictions the organisation has been under.”
  • “Feel that a suitable training programme should be developed for all the volunteers.”

50% of volunteers feel that the training provided is very good, 29% think it is good and 21% think it is adequate. We are hoping that with the new developments of the Volunteer Portal, volunteers will feel that the training provided will be expanded.

What is good about your volunteering?

  • “I want to improve my local heath service, as well as being part of a team.”
  • “The team dynamic.”
  • “Feeling that I might make a difference!”
  • “It is good as I can learn and further what I know to help others, and gain their perspectives on things to then help the community.”
  • “It’s been limited so far, but the work I have been able to do, I felt was useful in providing people’s feedback on their experiences of A&E which could be used to shape the service going forward.”
  • “Enthusiasm, motivation, commitment, communication, listening to what people want, networking, developing conversations with people, understanding their problems suggesting a path out to a more fulfilling daily life.”
  • “Opportunity to help with hospital projects/assessments.”
  • “It enables me to help by doing what I can, I’m not restricted to one thing, and my creativity isn’t hindered in helping others.”
  • “Being able to support the local community.”
  • “I like contributing to the community, especially the NHS. My way of giving something back.”
  • “The feedback collector volunteer job is completely virtual.”
  • “Allows you to build on skills such as communication and active listening skills.”
  • “To help make a difference, ensuring every person is getting the service they are entitled to.”

How could we improve your volunteering experience?

  • “Online working has really suited me as I have a disability.”
  • “Meeting closer to my house though I understand this is difficult.”
  • “Access to Dementia Awareness.”
  • “At the moment due to it being online I don’t think there is anything that can be improved.”
  • “Ensuring that the results from projects are accepted and implemented by the health organisations and volunteers are made aware of the results, ensuring that the hours put in have been put to go use.”
  • “Timings to avoid rush hour traffic would be useful.”
  • “My volunteering experience will be even better if I could receive more feedback on the quality of my work and find out how my work is making a difference.”

What we’ll do next

We’d like to thank our volunteers for taking part in this survey and sharing their suggestions. It’s great to see what’s working well and to improve on our volunteer support we’ve drawn up an action plan for 2021/22.

  1. Volunteer drop-in sessions – Holly will be arranging a series of drop-in sessions around the county where volunteers can meet her to have a chat and meet up with other Healthwatch volunteers in their area. We’ll advertise these events in future Volunteer Newsletters and email volunteers directly.
  2. Training opportunities – We will include more training opportunities in the volunteer newsletters this year, including Healthwatch England training, local provider training sessions and national events that may be of interest.
  3. Networking events – The Healthwatch England conference is taking place virtually in November 2021. This weeklong conference is a great opportunity to find out more about Healthwatch England and other local Healthwatch organisations, plus meet Healthwatch volunteers and staff from around the country. We’ll advertise the conference in our Volunteer Newsletter when the registration is open.

Volunteer officer Holly says “I am so proud of all our volunteers and the contributions they have made through their volunteering efforts, especially during the pandemic. We recognise their efforts, and I am so pleased that overall everyone enjoys volunteering for Healthwatch Dorset and finds the experience rewarding. We have learnt from the satisfaction survey that volunteers would like more volunteering opportunities and to meet with other volunteers, which I hope to do by holding volunteer catch-ups and drop ins in the future in several locations around Dorset on different dates.”