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Helen Ash One of a Number of Great Volunteers at WWL

Newsdate: 15 June 2016 Helen Ash

Volunteers play a crucial role in the NHS. They are committed people who give up part of their time to help others. Not only do they help our patients, but they also enable NHS workers, both medical and non-medical, to do their jobs more effectively.

Their role in the modern health service cannot be overstated. Every year, Volunteer’s Week seeks to recognise their contribution to the NHS. This year a special emphasis was placed on the role of NHS Hospital Governors during the annual celebration. At WWL, very few people exemplify their contribution better than Helen Ash.

Helen was elected to the WWL Council of Governors in September 2015 as a representative for Makerfield. She was able to do this off the back of being a member of the Trust for three years, having become a member when she started volunteering for us in 2012. Her role, as a volunteer, involves working for the Age UK Hospital Information and Support Service based at Wigan Infirmary. The Age UK team endeavour to ensure the safe and prompt discharge from hospital of older people.

Recently retired, this line of work suits Helen immensely, as she worked as a social worker for 20 years of her professional life. This bred into her a firm commitment and deep passion for health and social care issues. Her experience whilst working in this field also put her at an advantage as a health volunteer, as she understood the needs of the people she was meant to be helping. However, she was also able to develop her existing skills through her work at the Trust, in order to better support and represent their needs as well.

Having only recently been elected as a Governor, she readily admits that she is still finding her feet in her new role. Part of this is down to the range of responsibilities a Governor has. Their prime role is to represent the interests of members and patients in their area, in Helen’s case, Makerfield. In addition, they also attend hospital committees, taking an active part in them. They also take part in surveys, such as the Real Time Patient Experience Surveys.
Helen is very clear in her passion for volunteering. “As a Governor and a Hospital Volunteer,” she says, “I feel that I am able to put something back into my community. To anyone who is considering becoming a volunteer, in whatever capacity, I would say ‘Go for it!’ Besides the opportunity to offer your time and help, it’s also a great way to meet people and to stay in the loop.”

Helen’s story is an example of how rewarding and enriching being a Trust volunteer can be. It is a way to hone your skills, develop new ones and also make some friends along the way. You also have the added pleasure of knowing that you are helping others in a time of need.

WWL Voluntary Services Manager, Nadia Koriba, says, “We have 28 dedicated hospital governors who work incredibly hard to support our Trust and ensure that local views are represented. Volunteers’ Week is the perfect opportunity to thank and recognise our governors and volunteers for everything they do. We hope that everyone will join us in thanking all our governors and volunteers at WWL.

If you would like to learn more about our hospital governors, please visit our website at:

Information about volunteering opportunities can be found at: