David shares a Volunteer's Week 2018 insight in to his experience of volunteering with the ALLIANCE.
What does being a volunteer mean to me. For me that’s an easy question to answer, volunteering with the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), has allowed me to gain hands on experience of working in a Health and Social Care role, while gaining excellent mentoring from peers already working in that environment. With, the ALLIANCE I am currently a volunteer on their ALISS project as well as being a Volunteer Academy Board Member.
ALISS (this link will take you away from our website) stands for A Local Information Service for Scotland and is a large database which allows users to search for useful health and social care resources in Scotland. It’s a fantastic resource and has allowed me to help people in my local community by searching for local resources that they might have not known existed without them being listed on ALISS. An example being a local Comic Book Café that has an autism friendly meeting each week which a local person I am friendly with never knew existed until I directed them to the listing on ALISS. ALISS is a fantastic resource, such a quick and easy search of ALISS brings up numerous different local resources that can have a long-term impact on the wellbeing of people within my community. In my other role of Volunteer Academy Board Member, I sit quarterly with the board and help to provide strategic guidance and support to the development and functions of the Health and Social Care Academy. This has been a fantastic opportunity for myself as the board is made up of professionals with a fantastic knowledge and experience in the Health and Social Care sector in Scotland and has allowed me to gain confidence in my own learning and skills by being able to debate and learn from these fantastic peers.
Being in my Honours year at UWS, studying Integrated Health and Social Care, I was still unsure what role I wanted to enter once I graduated. Being able to volunteer with ALISS and the Board has allowed me to spend time learning new skills and an understanding of an organisation such as The Alliance, while continuing to study, for me the best of both worlds. I have received excellent guidance in my volunteer role and feel a real part of the team who encourage me to take part and really value, my contribution and points of view.
I have been involved in several different events due to my volunteering; one highlight was being involved in the ALLIANCE’s future leader event for students in a Health or Social Care related Degree or college course. Volunteering for this project then led to me speaking at both Glasgow Caledonian University then at the NHS Scotland Event at the SEC Glasgow about the findings from the project, something that I would never have had the confidence or skills to undertake prior to my volunteering.
Volunteering has allowed me to test the skills I have gained in my degree in an environment inclusive to encouraging futures leaders. Volunteering with the ALLIANCE has given me confidence and a real drive and passion to pursue my career goals in a Health and Social Care setting. I would encourage anyone who has the chance to volunteer to grasp it as it gives you a fantastic opportunity to work and learn from professionals in your field while making great networks for your own future career.