by STACEY HEANEY
Colm McKenna (Chairman, South Eastern HSC Trust), Lindsay Conway (Director Board of Social Witness, Presbyterian Church in Ireland), Jason White (Assistant Director of Health & Wellbeing, South Eastern HSC Trust) & Rev Bobby Liddle, (Convenor Board of Social Witness, Presbyterian Church in Ireland)
PRESBYTERIAN churches across Lisburn will be among those encouraging members of the congregation to volunteer in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.
The church's Board of Social Witness and the Trust have created a partnership to promote the role of volunteering which they say has become ever more important as volunteers can provide something extra to patients, clients and their families that can help them feel safe and supported.
Volunteers also enhance the quality of service provided to patients and service users while complementing the work of paid staff.
The new partnership will bring together social care professionals who understand the need in the local community, and who can support volunteers, with Presbyterian members who are prepared to help some of the most vulnerable people in their communities by volunteering their most valuable asset — their time.
Through this, they hope the wellbeing of patients and clients (and volunteers) improves as volunteers undertake the broad range of roles that are available throughout the Trust.
These include a tutor for children in residential care, Foster Carers, Ward Volunteers, Hospital Visitor, Activity Volunteer, Meeter and Greeter, Hospital Radio, Volunteer Driver, Befriender for older people and Supporting clients with disabilities.
Churches throughout the South Eastern Trust area will help to promote
this partnership within each
congregation with the aim of dedicating relevant theme's in Sunday Services.
Jason White, Assistant Director of Health and Wellbeing at the South Eastern Trust said: "This is an innovative partnership which seeks to improve the wellbeing of a wide range of individuals and families across the South Eastern area.
"Specifically, the programme seeks to provide volunteering
opportunities for members of local Presbyterian churches in places such
as hospitals, children's homes, day centres for adults with a
learning disability and many others. Through our overall volunteering programme, we are keen for as many people as possible to volunteer to help vulnerable people in their local community as this benefits our patients and clients and we believe that this scheme is an important element of this".
Lindsay Conway, the Presbyterian Church's Director of Social Service said: "The concept of the big society and partnership between faith communities and the statutory sector is not a new one for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
"Through the Presbyterian Board of Social Witness we have been involved in many partnerships with statutory bodies as part of our mission 'to live out the love of Christ through a caring church within our community. This has led to many partnership programmes, some of which have involved the Church at professional practitioner level and others that have tapped into the huge volunteering capacity of the Church".
If you enjoy helping others, like meeting people and have a few hours to spare in the week and would be interested in becoming a volunteer, you can contact Linda Wray, Presbyterian Board of Social Witness on (028) 9041 7234 or Sonya Duffy, Volunteer Manager (South Eastern HSC Trust) on (028) 9056 4817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. net for more information.