Sandra became a volunteer Health Buddy for Community Service Volunteers (CSV), in association with BBC Radio Devon, on January 18th 2012. At that time in her life, Sandra was not working but pursuing her personal and professional development. She had taken a year out of retail to focus on gaining the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications to run her own businesses.
Sandra has always valued the importance of helping the community and giving back in some way. Until last year, she was a volunteer Hospital Radio Presenter for 17 years. That was something she had done since being at college in 1995. Although her passion for radio presenting started when she was just 15 years old.
As a volunteer Health Buddy, Sandra’s role involves attending monthly meetings at BBC Radio Devon to listen to guest speakers about a variety of health related topics, taboo subjects and community projects. She then relays the relevant information through her blogs and social media.
In February 2012, as part of her Health Buddy role, Sandra was asked to take part in an on air discussion on Radio Devon about Chlamydia. Here is the interview with Presenter David Fitzgerald on BBC Radio Devon:
When I asked Sandra what first attracted her to become a Health Buddy, this is what she had to say:
” One of my colleagues at Hospital Radio introduced us to the concept of being a Health Buddy for CSV during a Hospital Radio meeting. At the time, he was the Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Health Buddies and was recruiting for volunteers. As I wasn’t working then, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to gain new skills and a greater knowledge of health and wellbeing for my blog. It was a voluntary role for a minimum of 6 months, with the promise of a certificate of completion upon success and that would look great on my CV and be very attractive to an employer. One of the topics that I like to cover on my beatredundancyblues.wordpress.com blog is health and wellbeing because I believe that being both physically and mentally well, is essential to successfully getting back into work. I knew I would be able to use some of the health and wellbeing knowledge that I learned as a Health Buddy, for my blog content and that in turn, would help others. It was extremely appealing.”
Peter Skelton, Editor at Clyst Valley News and former Health Buddy Co-ordinator, had this to say about Sandra and her role as a Health Buddy:
Editor at Clyst Valley News
September 7, 2012,
Sandra became a volunteer CSV/BBC Health Buddy in January 2012. Since that time she has consistently proved she is worthy of her title. Her contribution to the Health Buddy team is admirable, ever ready to spread health messages, discuss taboo health matters and offer advice and guidance at every available opportunity. She is pro-active in supporting the core values, objectives and goals of CSV.
Her successes include:
• Writing an article about being a Health Buddy for the Be Involved Devon newsletter. The article was a well-written and accurate account of Sandra’s first Health Buddy meeting and welcoming into the team. She explained the key objectives and goals of the Health Buddy role within the community and explained how her experience helped her personally and professionally on her way towards the five ways to wellbeing.
• Sandra has helped to increase the profile of CSV through active use of social media to boost campaigns, seize opportunities and to promote health messages. A copy of her first Health Buddy blog post was sent to CSV Head Office and recommended as the standard that others should be aspiring to.
• Sandra actively participated in a live on-air discussion at BBC Radio Devon, addressing the taboo health topic of chlamydia and the importance of going for screening. She spoke clearly and honestly and raised relevant points for debate.
• Sandra worked in a voluntary capacity for both CSV and BBC Radio Devon at the Devon County Show. She was given the task of finding out the meaning of people’s surnames for The Great British Story campaign and of recruiting volunteers for the new Professionals campaign. I must say Sandra’s contribution to the work that we were doing that day, was exemplary. She proactively approached customers to ask them if they wanted to find out the meaning of their surname, whilst continuing to build a rapport with them; and sought to recruit for volunteering opportunities where appropriate. She conducted herself at all times in a professional manner, was comfortable using a computer and able to communicate effectively with both staff and customers alike. She was an ambassador for both organisations and I would not have any hesitation in recommending her.
In July 2013, it was the 50th Anniversary celebration of CSV at St James’s Palace. Sandra was one of the few chosen Health Buddies from around the country, who not only attended this event but who got to speak with HM the Queen. Sandra was nominated by her Health Buddy Manager Nina Davey, to meet and speak with HM the Queen, because of the good work she does as a Health Buddy and for her greatest Health Buddy achievement to date, that was helping to save a person’s life. For which she received a Good Citizenship award from the police and a Certificate of Achievement from CSV.