Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) works with, and supports, around 40 ‘Community Voices’ who talk to people throughout Kirklees about changes and developments in their local healthcare.
These dedicated volunteers give communities a louder voice and help to make sure that health services are developed in response to the needs of local people.
Haley Sanders from Lindley in Huddersfield was already volunteering as Peer Mentor with The Basement Project, when she saw the request from the CCG for Community Voices volunteers. She became one of the Community Voices involved in talking to patients of the Whitehouse Practice, to find out more about their needs and how services could be improved.
The practice, based in North Road, Huddersfield, cares for people who have difficulty accessing mainstream services, including those who are homeless or in emergency accommodation as well as refugees and asylum seekers. Haley’s role as a community voice was to talk to these vulnerable people and give them the opportunity to get involved and talk about their own health needs.
When the engagement work at the Whitehouse practice ended after two months, Haley felt much more confident in her communications skills and when she saw a vacancy for a Trainee Recovery Worker with The Basement Recovery Project, she decided to apply. Haley was successful and started in her new role in June.
Haley told us,
“When I started as a Community Voice, I never thought it would lead to full-time job. Volunteering boosted my confidence in my ability to listen and support people – just what my new job is all about. The Basement Recovery Project offers support and inspiration to those involved with alcohol and / or substance misuse, through one-to-one and group work and offers opportunities for those who are marginalised in society. The therapeutic value of what is delivered at The Basement Project is delivered by workers with lived experience of addiction. ‘’
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the CCG’s Engagement Team. This experience led me to where I am today – working full time in a role that is interesting, enjoyable and very rewarding.”
Greater Huddersfield CCG offers training and other support to all Community Voices and more sessions are planned over the summer months. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Community Voice, please contact Zubair Mayet for more information at: firstname.lastname@example.org or ring: 01484 464024.