Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Paul Whitelegg - Volunteer Support Worker for Project:London
Paul Whitelegg is a second year student on the four-year graduate entry programme into medicine. He wants to be a doctor with the NHS when he qualifies. Paul first heard about Project: London when Doctors of the World UK came to St. George's Hospital in Tooting earlier in 2005 to give a talk about opportunities for volunteering overseas. The speaker, Dr. Shera Chok who is a GP in east London, also mentioned that Project: London was being planned.
"I want to help people who are less fortunate than me to get back on track," said Paul when asked about what prompted his decision to get involved. "I had been interested in voluntary work for some time, and wanted to do some medically-related voluntary work that would contribute to the course. Longer-term, I'm very interested in volunteering for an overseas project, maybe in Africa. I think it's a great idea to start the process of getting involved with voluntary work in my home country first of all."
"As a first or second year medical student, there is still a reasonable amount of spare time available to do other activities. Wednesday afternoons are currently free from lectures, which is why my voluntary sessions with Project: London will be on Wednesdays - one session (four-hours) every fortnight. The role of a support worker is great for a medical student although, of course, support workers are not involved in giving medical care. The training sessions given by DOW UK
"It is so helpful to get used to taking people's social histories, as well as working with people who are all part of the cultural diversity of London. I speak fluent Spanish, and when Project: London ran pilot sessions in December 2005, I was able to put this skill to good use with Spanish-speaking service users who came to seek advice. Solving language barrier issues is part of the role of the support worker."
For more information about Project:London and how to volunteer, visit our website.