Social Prescribing Newsletter – December 2022

Each month, we will be sharing our latest findings and insights on the ground in Social Prescribing and the work we do to make it happen.

Thank you to everyone that contributed to this issue.

VASWS is closed from 23 December 2022 to 03 January 2023: referrals to the Social Prescribing Service will not be picked up during this period and phones and emails will not be monitored.
We thank you for all your referrals this year and look forward to working with you in 2023.
Wishing you a peaceful and festive Christmas period.

•SP newsletter December 2022

Social Prescribing Newsletter – Issue 1

We are so excited to finally be launching our new Social Prescribing newsletter.

Our newsletter will feature the latest news, research, reports and more, all relating to social prescribing. We will also do regular round ups highlighting blogs, social networks and useful tools as well as upcoming events which you may find interesting.

SP newsletter August 2022

Royal Holloway University Micro-Placements

We have been hosting Royal Holloway University students for micro-placements over the last eight weeks. The work they have been doing, in that time, has had a positive impact on the local community and has given them vast amounts of experience in the voluntary sector.

A group of 16 students from Royal Holloway University have completed a four-week micro-placement with the charity in two separate cohorts this July and August. We want to celebrate with them for completing such an exciting milestone as these students gave 100% of themselves to the charity and their work has not gone unnoticed. Therefore, we would like to recognise them for their achievements and find out what they think of the amazing act of voluntary work.

We reached out to Lisa Cummings, the Senior Placement and Student Experience Officer from Royal Holloway University, for her thoughts.

“Micro-placements in the voluntary sector offer a really exciting experience for students that create a lasting, positive impact. By having real life workplace-based placements students can develop their skills and use the experience to help them make informed decisions about the type of work and company that they want to apply for when they graduate.”

The placements have provided real-world experience needed to integrate into the industry seamlessly. One such example of this is one of our campaign placement students, Carlota, who was tasked with creating content for Make a Difference Day. Other tasks taken on included contacting other organisations and promotion for the event expanding the support we provide to local charities and voluntary groups as an infrastructure organisation.

Another example of our placements getting real world experience is our amazing PR placement Maryam, who wrote a professional article about some amazing volunteers which is currently available to read on our website here.

Maryam Nassor, PR Placement Student shared. “Being on placement at Voluntary Action South West Surrey has been a rewarding experience. I was working on a news article that honours COVID-19 vaccination volunteers which was an exciting process. Conducting interviews with volunteers and learning more about each of their stories was inspiring.”

Whilst volunteering can be fun and highly impactful, it’s best not to forget how important it is for younger people to generate new skills in meaningful ways.

But don’t just take it from us, the students themselves who took part in these placements were the most important part of course.

“This was a rewarding experience where my design skills were challenged and therefore developed. Throughout the placement it was interesting to see how an organisation works, for example, when creating information leaflets or reports there is a very specific theme that needed to be followed.” Carlota Kiner-Josa, Campaign Placement Student.

“My experience of the voluntary sector and of working with Voluntary Action South West Surrey has been wholly rewarding. It is gratifying to know that one’s work can have a tangible impact, both on the lives of the organisation’s clients and on the wider local community.” Isaac Crosby, Communications Placement Student.

If you are interested in volunteering visit our website and get involved now or if you are looking to find placement opportunities for yourself or for a group of students, please contact us on

COVID-19 Vaccination Volunteers: The story of five volunteers

Article written by Maryam Nassor, a student volunteer at Voluntary Action South West Surrey.

Over 800 volunteers went out into the community, rain or shine, to facilitate the vaccine roll-out.

Among them was Warren Tebbit, who worked a remarkable 87 shifts as a volunteer for Pro Care during Covid-19 (and he still plans to do more in the future!). Warren and his wife, Kate Tebbit, were inspired to volunteer, as their “daughter was in her final year of her Nursing degree and along with many fellow nursing students, she was facing first-hand the horrendous impact of Covid while on placement at the Royal Papworth Hospital.”

Although he initially worked two to three shifts per week, Warren said that he was “soon spending up to five to seven days a week at G-Live.” Volunteering every day of the week is a huge commitment and was recognised by the local community who offered up their support. This came in the form of bringing in “cakes, fresh fruit and snacks and one very generous local restaurant even provides a weekly Friday lunch.” The restaurant that Warren is referring to is Rumwong Thai Restaurant and “for many weeks the owner and his staff would bring over a large selection of meals on Friday lunchtime as a thank you for the work of the Vaccination Centre. It was really appreciated by everyone and the dishes were excellent.”

Phillip Kemp (Associate Director of COVID Response at Procare) is equally grateful for the volunteers’ help, writing that they “have been a vital part of the success of the vaccination programme in Guildford & Waverley – Throughout the duration of the programme at Cranleigh, Haslemere and in G-live – they have been an integral part of the team which has helped deliver over 160,000 vaccines since it opened in December 2020. With their wide-ranging and diverse backgrounds, they have brought an enormous wealth of experience to the programme which everyone involved has benefited from. They have helped guide members of the public through our venues with care, compassion and humour and they’ve done it in all weathers. Without them the service wouldn’t have been half as successful as it has been, nor half as fun. Thank you for all of your hard work”.

Mayor, Cllr Marsha Moseley, also expressed her appreciation, writing that “it has been so inspiring to see the commitment and sacrifices made by volunteers to help their communities during one of the most difficult periods of our lives. We have been touched by their kindness, generosity of spirit and endless enthusiasm. They have really gone above and beyond…our NHS and volunteers across our borough’s vaccination centres have played such a big role in helping to keep our residents safe and to stop the spread of the virus. Thank you to everyone who has made the biggest vaccination programme in this country’s history such a success.”

The Mayor has also shown her gratitude by inviting the volunteers to the Guildford Cricket Festival 2021 which took place on Tuesday 27th July.

All of the volunteers that I spoke to had one thing in common; their charitable acts came from a desire to help others. Peter Robotham, for example, is a volunteer who actively sought out ways to help his community during the COVID pandemic. After searching online for volunteer roles, Peter found that he could support his local vaccination programme, a role that he thoroughly enjoyed. With the everyday bustle of patients in socially distanced queues, Peter was grateful for the social element which came

along with the role after several months of isolation. Meeting hundreds of people per day who were “very purposeful” in getting the vaccine to protect themselves and the public, was inspiring for Peter. From organising queues to helping the patients remain calm, Peter and the other volunteers contributed to the united effort of vaccinating the nation. Peter remained humble, however, as he took the time out of our conversation to praise the NHS workers who were responsible for vaccinating patients. Peter said that “though they have full-time jobs, they do extra shifts to help out” and had to concentrate on and listen to hundreds of different patients within their shifts. Howard Klein echoed Peters pleasant experience as a volunteer, writing that, “The opportunity to help people makes the work worthwhile, and so many saying thank you.”

Volunteering often entailed identifying and comforting individuals with needle phobia. Howard stated that “sometimes those afraid of a needle are more obvious, but not always, so a bit of eye-contact/small- talk can help.” Therefore, the volunteers had an impressive range of interpersonal skills and were instrumental in allowing the vaccination programme to run smoothly. Some of the volunteers also had some funny encounters to share with me when we spoke. Ali Johnson, for instance, recalled a “man telling me that he was 52 when the over 50s were called forward only to confess he was 49 when he got inside.”

Ali also emphasised that there is a shortage of volunteers nationwide – an issue that many of us are able to solve by finding roles within our communities to aid the vaccination programme. After hearing the inspiring stories of some of the volunteers, we should all strive to assist our communities in similar ways.

Find out how you can volunteer by visiting MyImpactPage – Voluntary Action South West Surrey (

Note to reader:

Statistics are from January – March 2021 (inclusive).

Voluntary Action South West Surrey is Registered Charity Number: 1116293 | Registered Company Number: 05841344 | Registered Office: 39 Castle Street | Guildford | GU1 3UQ

Copyright 2020 Voluntary Action South West Surrey