Sheffield organisation launches new volunteer project in a bid to improve locals’ health and well-being

Do you want to build new friendships and skills while helping the community? Consider getting involved with Darnall’s Well-being Champion Volunteer Project.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 12:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:24 pm
A recent Picnic in the Park event that was held at High Hazels Park, Darnall, as part of the Well-being Champions launch on August 14

DWB (Darnall Well Being) is a not-for-profit community health organisation that offers a range of activities, support and volunteering opportunities for the people of Darnall, Tinsley and neighbouring areas.

Their aim is to help people build knowledge and resilience, in order to improve health and well-being of locals.

Volunteers have ‘really valued and enjoyed meeting new people, learning new things and giving back to the community’ in the past.

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28-year-old volunteer Sammy Stephens, said: “When I first started volunteering with Darnall Well Being, I had been off work with depression. I was involved in lots of different activities like a ‘helping hands’ scheme, craft group, walks, chairobics, shared reading and playschemes. I supported people to get out in the community and build confidence to do it themselves. I was involved in planning activities and was always valued and supported in the role. From volunteering for DWB I gained so much myself; confidence, knowledge, work experience in a health setting, and the rewarding feeling of helping others.”

The Well-being Champion Volunteer Project aims to be more creative and flexible in response to the changing needs, identified priorities, available resources and funding opportunities.

Claire Birkinshaw, volunteer coordinator said: “The project is good in a lot of ways. It helps to provide proactive services for the community, one that meets people’s needs. People can be amongst friendly faces.

“There are different roles within being a Champion.

“It is a chance to help the community, to build new skills and friendships - one of the most valued reasons for people getting involved.”

DWB has been delivering health and well-being programmes using a community development approach since 2000.

Previous projects have attracted a diverse range of people in terms of ethnicities, skills and ages - the oldest volunteer is 84-years-old.

Having been awarded a grant through The National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, DWB will be looking to recruit and support up to 125 new volunteers - 25 a year, over a five year period.

Many have already applied for the first cohort, who will become a mix of Well-being Champions and peer mentors.

DWB is interested to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds, especially as the Darnall Ward is one of the poorest in Sheffield with documented and recognised health needs.

Claire said: “Some have lots of barriers. Some are nervous about trying things out. The project is about community knowledge, how to make services appropriate to communities.

“The peer mentor program for example, aims to help those with less language skills - vital for helping people learn more about health and well-being.”

The organisation wants to celebrate success by building resilience into meaningful, effective and strong foundations within the community.

Activities may include walking or cycling, health information sessions or social activities that bring people together from all sections of the local community.

Speaking about the previously successful Helping Hands project, Claire explained: “One lady with glaucoma was nervous about going out on her own. A volunteer helped her learn how to cross the road. She has grown in confidence and is now able to go to the doctor by herself.”

With training, development and ongoing support, volunteers will be well equipped in helping local people be healthier and more socially connected.

Anyone living in or around the Darnall and Tinsley areas of Sheffield who would like to make a positive impact in their community, build their confidence and skills, is encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible.

Those who are interested will be expected to fill in an application form and will be asked to attend an informal interview.

For further information about becoming a Well-being Champion Volunteer, email: [email protected] or phone: (0114) 249 6315.