Volunteering case studies
Mark, 17, is an ABLE Youth Volunteer with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. He speaks to Lisa Taylor about his experiences.
ABLE Youth runs within 3 Youth Health Services in the North West of Glasgow City (Drumchapel, Possilpark and Maryhill). It aims to engage and empower young people to be better informed regarding risk-taking behaviours, and to encourage them to access health-related services and websites with confidence.
Mark is one of the young people that successfully applied to be trained as a Volunteer Mentor. The volunteers are equipped with handheld devices for their interaction with young people attending Youth Health Services.
The young service users benefit from peer-to-peer interaction, and the volunteers signpost their peers to various online information sources, including Sandyford Sexual Health Services, Youth Providers Online Directory, Weigh To Go, Mental Health Services and Wellbeing Support Services.
Tell me about your current volunteering role within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
I mentor and coach young people within youth services in Glasgow. They come from all different backgrounds. I volunteer to help signpost them to health services. I try and build good relationships with the young people I meet and give them advice. This can be quite challenging. Young people are sometimes difficult to engage, but I’ve learned skills to manage this. The people I engage with are aged 12-19.
Why did you decide to start volunteering within the NHS?
I have always wanted to give something back to my community, and I thought this would be a great way to do it. I also wanted to help young people. I’m interested in a career in the NHS, so I thought it would be good experience for me as well.
What impact do you think your volunteering role has on the service users?
I think it has an incredible impact on the service users, the difference I see in the young people I meet is very noticeable. I often can’t believe the change as a result of having a bit of peer support from a fellow young person. I think they value the interaction with someone their own age.
What impact has your volunteering had on you as a person?
It has had an incredible effect on me. I feel like a completely different person now. I’ve grown up so much and have learned so much. I am a much more confident communicator. I’ve met so many people from so many different backgrounds. I feel like a more caring and compassionate person through this experience.
What would you say to anyone considering a volunteering role in health and social care?
I would say it can be challenging, but it is most definitely worth it. There are so many opportunities and learning experiences to gain from being a young volunteer in health and social care.
Mark was interviewed by Lisa Taylor from the Volunteering in NHS Scotland Programme as part of Volunteers' Week 2018.