Meet The Team
Healthwatch Kirklees is an Independent charity. We employ a small staff team and are helped by volunteers. Our Board of Trustees oversees and steers our work, members of our board are not paid for their role.
I have been involved with Healthwatch in Kirklees since 2013, and Healthwatch in Calderdale since 2016. When I started in Kirklees, we were a brand new organisation, still finding our feet and understanding the quirks and irks in Kirklees.
We have been on a huge journey that has taught us about how health and care organisations in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and the surrounding areas work and where there are problems and gaps. In Calderdale, we knew more about what we wanted Healthwatch to look like and achieve and we’ve been championing that approach for 2 and a half years.
I am proud to say that the teams have made a tangible difference in areas such as wheelchair services, mental health, maternity and helping people to get to the care and assistance they need. There are areas where we’ve had less success but we want to keep on championing the cause, for example, NHS Dental Access which is still an issue that plagues our local area.
I’ve been Project Coordinator, Director and now Chief Exec and I am still every bit as passionate about gathering people’s views and making them count as I was on my first day. I think health and care organisations are more interested and invested in what people have to say about their experiences, but it’s got harder for us to make what people say count over the last 5 years as everyone has faced challenges around budgets, capacity and resources. We have had to diversify and expand the way that we use people’s voices, and we are constantly trying to be more innovative. I look forward to seeing what the future brings, and thank the wonderful team I work with for helping me to drive things forward.
I’ve worked for Healthwatch Kirklees since 2013 and still love the opportunities this job presents – a chance to champion people’s voices so that service providers and commissioners know what it’s really like to use health and care services; being able to provide information and signposting in a world which is often difficult to navigate; most of all, I enjoy having the privilege of listening to people who contact us, often when they’ve already tried many other places, and being able to show that our organisation cares and will do our best to help.
I love running and completed my first marathon in 2020. I volunteer for Locala and Dewsbury Cares Community Group.
Volunteering and Engagement Officer (Enter and View Lead)
I have worked for Healthwatch Kirklees for over 5 years now and enjoy it immensely. I am responsible for the recruiting, supervising and supporting of our wonderful volunteers. My aim is for all our volunteers to achieve their potential have a positive volunteering experience. You will often see me out and about in the community as I’m involved in the engagement and outreach sessions and also take the lead on our Enter and View visits. We are a vibrant, happy team.
I am the team manager for Healthwatch Kirklees. I have graduated from Huddersfield University with a degree in Marketing. I'm looking forward to completing my role in the team to help the organisation.
I began my journey with Healthwatch Kirklees as a Communications Intern creating videos and images for social media in 2017. I gained a lot of experience of working with the public and understanding how best to engage them during the year of my internship. After a short time away from the organisation looking at freelance animation opportunities, I am happy to be back at Healthwatch Kirklees as an information and engagement officer.
My name is Debbie.
I joined Healthwatch Kirklees in June 2019. I previously worked at Carers Count
in Huddersfield as an information/ Advice and Group Worker.
I am looking forward to involving and working with people of all ages and sections of the community
to gather and represent the views of adults, young people and children living or using services in Kirklees. I am keen to hear and record your views and opinions on what’s working well and what needs to be changed. I firmly believe working together we can make a difference
I am a Pharmacist who retired to Halifax after a managerial career with a national chain of pharmacies, during which I spent time in several parts of the country and experienced service with many varied communities. My interest in Health Watch stemmed from some related voluntary work with CAB that extended into the formation of PPI Health Forums.
After retiring I learnt more about the NHS than I ever did whilst working within it, as well as about its intertwining with Social care, Council and Government! Further voluntary work as a governor with an NHS Mental Health Trust was stimulating, motivational and fitted well with Links and its successor, Health Watch. Having had good experience of the NHS and Social Care, both personally and from family contacts, I am delighted to “put something back” where I can and seek to maximise the quality of these services within their realistic resources.
I am the CEO of WomenCentre, an organisation that works across Calderdale Kirklees and Bradford. I have worked as a registered nurse, social worker and probation officer as well as in the voluntary and community sector for the last 20 years.
Enter and View Authorised
I worked in the Civil Service for 34 years until 2007. Since then, I have undertaken care and support work with older and disabled clients and also a hospital ward clerk role.
Since I retired from paid employment, I have been a volunteer with a number of local community service organisations – including South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (Mental Health Services) and several voluntary sector providers – with these roles including befriending activities and volunteering with young people with intellectual disabilities, in relation to travel training.
I have been a Healthwatch volunteer team member since 2014 and I always welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with our local health and social care providers – in order to facilitate the identification and sharing of benchmark best practice whilst also highlighting instances where services could be improved – together with ideas relating to how that might be achieved. I feel that it is important to enable members of our local community to make a positive contribution as regards supporting local providers to aspire to the delivery of excellence by ensuring that services are the best that they can be with the resources that are available.
Enter and View Authorised Representative
I have been a Healthwatch Kirklees volunteer since 2014 and still find this hugely rewarding. Despite my busy paid role with the local authority, I continue to fit my volunteer work in as much as I can, when I can, because I understand how much of a difference it can make. I became a volunteer to support local people to have a voice and share their experiences and I’m still really passionate about giving people the opportunity to do this. I also wanted to share my knowledge and skills (and learn some new ones) as well as help to share good practice and make improvements to services. When I first started, I was supporting the Enter and View visits, but as time has progressed I’ve also been involved in a variety of projects and pieces of work – all of which have been interesting; thought-provoking and enjoyable and given me the chance to meet a wide range of people and professionals.
Enter and View Authorised
I am a retired Social Worker where I worked with children preparing to leave local authority care. I am now a volunteer for a number of different organisations
providing support to vulnerable people in Kirklees. I am also the Chair and a coach at my local athletics club.
For me Healthwatch is an opportunity to use my experience to influence the way that the systems in the health service work. It is a chance to enable the health and care services to continue to be accessible and understanding of changing individual’s needs.”
Enter and View Authorised
I began my working life as a schoolteacher and during my career have taught on three continents. Since then, for the last fourteen years, I have worked with Age UK in Calderdale and Kirklees as an advocate for older people in their dealings with local health and social care providers.
The reliability and approachability of these providers can be a bedrock in the lives of many older people.
However as a mother, grandmother and now a proud great -grandmother, I know how vital a responsive health and social care system is for all of us.
As a Healthwatch volunteer I hope to play my part in establishing and maintaining the highest standards for providers in our area.
Enter and View Authorised Representative.
I have worked for many years in local authority and in the NHS taking a preventative approach to
improving health. I also volunteer with Homestart Kirklees, supporting families with young children. I volunteered as a Healthwatch Enter and View volunteer because I believe it’s important that we are able
to collect good quality information on how health and social care services are working – in particular that
the views of people using the services are represented, taken on board and responded to. I’m looking
forward very much to getting started – to contribute in a small way to improving services as well as
seeing and sharing some of the good practice.
I am a civil servant and volunteer in my spare time. The flexibility of volunteering at Healthwatch allows me to do this. I love volunteering for HealthWatch, as I get to meet other volunteers, attend training sessions and work on new, diverse and exciting projects in my local community. There are opportunities to enhance my existing skills as well as develop new skills. I receive feedback on my volunteering contributions and how I have made a difference. The Heathwatch team are all friendly and super supportive.
I joined Healthwatch because its not just my health that matters but everyone’s. Going out and meeting people and getting their feedback helps the service providers know if they are doing a good job or if they need to make improvements, being part of that helps the individual assist in managing their own or family’s health better. Volunteering for Healthwatch has expanded my knowledge, made valuable friends and I feel that I am contributing in a positive way into the whole community.
A minimum of a few hours a month is a small commitment of your free time and all out of pocket expenses are paid as well as being part of a fantastic supporting team.
I became a Healthwatcher Volunteer in May 2020. I was inspired to join after giving feedback on their website about a local NHS service. Healthwatch contacted me and I had the opportunity to voice my experience with the service in question. This then formed part of a report undertaken by Healthwatch that led to real life positive changes for other service users. I was delighted!
Currently I am enjoying being part of the ‘hypermobility syndromes project’ led by Karen Huntley from Healthwatch Calderdale. As a sufferer of a hypermobility syndrome (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) I know first-hand the barriers to diagnosis and treatment that many patients experience. It is an amazing feeling to be part of project that is gathering the real voice of the patient which can sometimes be overlooked.
If you have a few hours each week to spare, it is worth volunteering with Healthwatch. You have the opportunity to be part of a great team and help make some real change.’
I began volunteering at Healthwatch when I was studying Psychology at Huddersfield University. Being a Healthwatcher has been a great way to get involved with improving people’s wellbeing and experiences of healthcare services. It has opened my eyes to a lot of issues and positives aspects of healthcare which I wouldn’t know otherwise. It also gave me experience in research which helped me land my graduate job after uni! Healthwatch Kirklees is an extremely friendly team and a pleasure to be a part of.
I am a student currently moving on to University. Volunteering at Healthwatch Kirklees is a really amazing way to meet new people and experience new things, all while helping our community. It is a great way for students to gain an experience of the Healthcare industry on a more personal level. Working with members of the public and a friendly team gives a new perspective on the word ‘Society’ and was very important to me for picking the course I want to go into, which is Biomedical Engineering. I thoroughly enjoy being part of an amazing team!
Online Feedback Collector
I volunteer for Healthwatch Kirklees. This is an interesting and varied role.Due to the pandemic, there is no face-to-face interactions at the moment but I have been speaking to family members and friends and getting them to post reviews of the different healthcare services on the website. This allows the services to be improved and also looks at services that are doing well so where feedback is positive and can continue to provide a good service. My university course was based around health and nutrition so I was always looking to get back into that field, so this was the perfect opportunity to do that.
Online Feedback Collector
I work as a quality management specialist for non-profits and charities, I have been a volunteer for more than 15 years, in three different countries. When I moved to Kirklees, I was looking for an opportunity to support the community. I saw that volunteering with Healthwatch Kirklees is perfect as they represent the perspective of local communities towards health services which is something I value very much.
Online Feedback Collector
I joined Healthwatch Kirklees in 2020 as an online feedback collector. So far I have obtained information that health and social services can use to improve their services and provide the best quality of care needed. In doing so, I have enhanced my analytical skills and my communication skills by working with a vast majority of people and listening to their opinions. I look forward to gaining more experience whilst encouraging young people’s voices and adults’ voices to be heard as a means to improve the services in and around their local community, which is very important to me