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Voluntary Services Manager Bedfordshire Hospitals NHSFT

Written By: Debbie Allman

Working as a VSM can be such a rewarding role. We get to meet lots of different people – people with hearts of gold who genuinely want to make a difference to their local hospital and communities, and we are supporting staff in delivering the best possible service and enhancing patient experience.

Here comes the ‘But’: do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in different directions, trying to satisfy everyone without any firm direction or guidance? I know I’ve certainly felt like that and this is where NAVSM has been a saviour, particularly during the past two years as we’ve all had to navigate unchartered waters. As a friend of mine says, we are all in the same sea but bobbing along in different boats!

NAVSM provides a whole network of like-minded people working to achieve the same goals and experiencing similar problems. Between the membership there are many years’ experience to tap into whether it’s to do with legal issues, recruitment, event planning or how to handle problem volunteers. You can ask questions on a national scale via the E-newsletter, or locally via your regional hub – a great way to get to share experiences and best practice. It’s comforting to know that we are all experiencing similar issues and there isn’t always a right or wrong way to handle them, but we are not alone.

The National Executive Committee works hard on our behalf to influence and advise on volunteering at national strategic level. With established links into NHS England and the Department of Health, it’s a ‘go to’ organisation for government when seeking data and opinion on volunteering, giving the likes of you and me a voice that might not otherwise be heard.

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