Volunteering case studies
George Anderson tells how he began volunteering with NHS Borders once his caring responsibilities had finished, and describes the support he received as a carer.
I started volunteering with NHS Borders in 2001. I needed something to help me integrate back into society when my caring duties came to an end – your day is so long and you don’t know how to fill it – and that is how I got into volunteering.
In 1998 I gave up my job as sales rep (which required me driving approximately 60,000 miles a year) to care for my dad and mum, as I always said I would never put them in a home. I was the sole carer for 11 years so I had no social life or holidays whilst caring for them. During the final 2 years of caring I never had a full night's sleep. What I did realise from my time as a carer is that carers should always have arrangements for respite care; this is the main bit of advice I would give to anyone caring today. As carers we all feel we don’t need help, but we do.
Throughout this time I found the support from the NHS and my GP excellent, and I also got great help from the district nurses and the Community Nursing Team. I felt I was always "treated like a person" and they always found time for me. The Borders Carers Centre was a valuable source of advice and support. Without this, I would not have been able to do the things I have done today and use my experience to help other carers. I must also mention that without the companionship of my wee dog, Cindy, I would have found it more difficult to cope.
I am a volunteer as a public member on a number of NHS Borders groups and committees, providing my views from a public perspective on services. I am also a member of the Scottish Borders Public Partnership Forum (PPF) which provides a public viewpoint on NHS services provided by NHS Borders, Scottish Borders Council and the Voluntary Sector.
The help and support I receive from the public involvement staff is much appreciated. My time spent volunteering has definitely been a confidence boost. I would recommend to any carer to get involved in voluntary work as I find it very rewarding in that I can offer something back.
George described his volunteering role for Volunteers' Week 2018.