saved my life' says Burnham-On-Sea pensioner
Burnham-On-Sea pensioner who suffered two strokes and lost his leg
in a car accident says volunteering at a local organisation has
been a 'lifesaver' for him.
Puddy, 73, from Burnham-On-Sea, has volunteered with the countys
independent health and care champion Healthwatch Somerset for the
last five years and is now urging others to consider joining him
as a volunteer for the organisation.
sadly lost his leg when he was 33 years old in a car accident in
the county but after six months in a coma and many more months of
physiotherapy and rehabilitation he was able to return to work as
an MOD aircraft inspector.
later whilst he was working in the USA at the age of 55, Cliff suffered
the first of two strokes, which then meant he was unable to work
due to initial speech problems and mobility issues.
says he has had both good and bad experiences of local health and
care services through his ill-health. He joined local feedback and
engagement groups to help others like him have their voice heard.
says: "If it hadnt been for volunteering, I would be
sitting in the house staring at the same four walls and with no
real purpose. At one point I was so low I would have taken my own
able to get out of the house and meet people who treat me as a human
being and not a cripple means all the difference. Volunteering really
saved my life."
Somerset, the countys independent health and care champion,
has launched a campaign to recruit more volunteers to help its small
staff team gather feedback from the public.
variety of volunteering roles are on offer. People can visit health
and care venues to speak to patients, staff and families about their
experiences and also act as an ambassador for the organisation at
local events and meetings.
Sara Nelson from Healthwatch Somerset said: "Volunteers like
Cliff are at the heart of everything we do, from talking to people
about their experiences of local health and care services, to sitting
on the board of directors."
your background, we are keen to hear from you if you think you could
fill one of these roles. People can make a real difference to their
communities and help to shape their local health and care services."
volunteers with Healthwatch Somerset go through a full training
and personal development programme. They are given a comprehensive
volunteer handbook and welcome pack, as well as having access to
an online volunteer portal with up to date policies and procedures.
Out of pocket expenses are also reimbursed.
added: "I would recommend volunteering to anyone who wants
to help people have their voice heard on the way health and care
services are run locally. You really can make a difference. For
example, I have attended every Stroke Club in Somerset to find out
the issues people are talking about. Many years ago stroke patients
were saying they didnt receive good care at hospital."
findings were taken back to the hospital trust who then introduced
an early discharge procedure to allow stroke patients to get 12
weeks of physiotherapy at home rather than in hospital."
find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Somerset call
01278 264405 or visit www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk