"Volunteering for RDASH"

About: Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

(as a service user),

I was offered a volunteering placement within RDASH to help with my recovery. I gradually built up more confidence and took on more responsibilty.

I was treated as part of the team to a certain extent in that my views and opinions were acted upon, however I was never invited to the communications meetings and team away days across the whole trust.

This made me feel devalued and exculded, it was becomming clear that I was doing the work of a paid employee and my occupational therapist agreed with me that it would be better for me to leave the post.

Since leaving the post the project deadline had to be moved back abd has still not been completed. In addition to this I since been given a copy of the volunteer policy which states that I should have been getting payed lunch and full access to all training inclucding induction and health and safety.

I never received any training at all and was on occasion left to man the office on my own.

This has left me with feelings of being used by the Trust and made me reluctant to take on another placement. Although I wanted to be involved and valued my opinion being taken, there was an occasion during a meeting when my measured opinion was not welcomed by some present and I was asked to leave the room, this felt like a summary dismisal.

Shortly after this I was admitted back to hospital, the team I worked with were great but they did not seem to grasp how Ifelt about being excluded and did not offer any explanation for this despite me raising the issue, it appeared that this was part and parcel for someone in my position.

It has felt to me that the gains in confidence and self esteem I had made were mitigated by a lack of understanding of the process of recovery for mental health service users.

This is something of a suprise to me given that my placement was with a mental health trust

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Response from Nick Arkle, Patient Engagement/ Psychosocial Interventions Lead, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Dear red10,

Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback to the Trust.

I am very sorry to hear that your volunteer experience with the Trust was negative. The Trust places great value on the many volunteers who are active within the Trust.

I would like to offer you the opportunity to meet with me and the Trust Volunteer Service Manager to discuss your experiences so that we can learn from what has happened and make every volunteer opportunity as positive as possible.

If you have any other concerns please feel free to contact the Patient Advise and Liaison Service (PALS) on any of the following:

0800 0154334



St Catherine's

Tickhill Road,





Nick Arkle

Patient Experience/Psychosocial Interventions Lead

Swallownest Court

Aughton Road



S26 4TH

01302 796305


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by red10 (a service user)

Thank you for your response. I am taking advice on this. I do not wish to be identified as I feel this could lead to a detrimental impact on the care I currently receive. This is why I have not gone through PALS or the complaints procedure. I know other people who have gone through the complaints procedure or met with managers and been treated differently as a result. As I said I am taking advice on this offer.

Response from Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

Dear RED 10

Thank you for highlighting the situation that occurred when you were a volunteer with our Organisation.

We have learnt from your experience and reviewed our procedure to ensure this situation does not arise again.

If you would like to discuss this further I would be happy for you to contact me directly


Sue Sparks

Head of Learning and Development

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

RED Centre

St. Catherine’s

Tickhill Road

Doncaster DN48QN


Telephone; 01032 796208l