V is for … Volunteers

 In Speak Up Month

Lisa Ryder
Freedom to Speak up Guardian, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

Volunteers have always played an important role in the delivery of our services here at Pennine Care; their contributions allow us to enrich and extend the range of services we offer to patients, their relatives and carers.

Our volunteers work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics and in the community in a variety of roles. Volunteers are in a unique position when it comes to identifying when something may not be right and speaking up. Volunteers are often the new person in a team or service that picks up on a patient safety or worker wellbeing issue, or the person who asks the simple and obvious questions that helps to highlight an opportunity for change and improvement. Despite this, when we looked at our FTSU data, we realised that we had very few volunteers speaking up. It might be that perceived lack of knowledge or an absence of line management structure may act as barriers to speaking up and that limited access to the intranet meant the FTSU message was not reaching them.

Once we had identified a gap in our FTSU reach to volunteers, we sought to address it by including FTSU in the volunteer induction programme, the volunteer handbook and induction pack.  But we wanted to do more to ensure all volunteers hear the FTSU message and have access to the support of the FTSU guardian when they needed to have their voices heard, so we are actively recruiting a volunteer to become part of our Speak Up Ambassador network.  We want to increase understanding and visibility of FTSU and provide workers, particularly those with additional barriers to speaking up, with a safe route to ensure no voice goes unheard. Therefore, in addition to a volunteer, we hope to recruit from our BAME, Disability and LGBTQ+ networks.

Speak Up Month was the perfect opportunity to launch our recruitment to the Speak Up Ambassador roles. Our goal is to establish a diverse and values-driven network of Speak Up Ambassadors who will contribute to the development of an organisational culture that promotes our vision and values, and where every worker feels able to speak up and is valued for doing so.


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