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The volunteers and experts by experience who give up their own free time to help the service users and carers of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised and thanked for everything that they do.

A fifth annual tea party was held in their honour at Bowden Hall Hotel, in Gloucester.

Volunteers and experts by experience at the tea party

The event included the presentation of certificates to many volunteers, as well as the Trust’s experts by experience – people who use their own personal experience of mental illness or learning disability to act as advisors.

Trust Chair Ruth FitzJohn said: “This is, without doubt, my favourite event of the year.

“Our volunteers and experts by experience make an enormous contribution not only to our Trust, our service users and our carers, but also the entire communities of Gloucestershire of Herefordshire.

“They give their time, their care and their energy to help us make life better and we are very grateful for everything they do.”

More than 30 volunteers are registered with 2gether, and they work to enhance and improve the services the Trust provides.

Their work includes:

• Visiting inpatient units with Pat (Pets as Therapy) dogs
• Mental Health Events Champions
• Driving service users to and from appointments
• Helping at meal times
• Activity Support Volunteer

Trust Chair Ruth FitzJohn presents a certificate

There are more than 80 experts by experience registered with the Trust. They also help in a variety of ways, including sitting on interview panels when staff are being recruited, advising on trust policies, helping to provide staff training, and participating in focus groups to provide feedback on important issues the Trust is working on, including its long term strategies.

To express an interest in volunteering with the Trust or to find out more about becoming an expert by experience, please contact the Social Inclusion Team on 01452 894200.