Castleford volunteer steps up to give back to local NHS who helped her survive cancer

22 April 2020

A Castleford-based health and safety specialist who survived cancer is looking to give back to the NHS by volunteering to help them while she is furloughed from her day job.

Joanne Moore Vistry Group volunteer NHS
Joanne Moore, of Vistry Group, is volunteering to help the NHS 
Joanne Moore, safety, health and environmental advisor at Vistry Group – which includes Vistry Partnerships, Bovis Homes and Linden Homes – was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and, even though she is on the NHS’ coronavirus shielded patient list, has signed up as a volunteer responder.

Joanne, from Castleford, has started work as a Check-in and Chat volunteer, having successfully registered with the NHS and downloaded the volunteering platform GoodSAM app.

She has already received training as a mental health first aider through a special course run by her employer in Leeds, and is ready to put that training to good use in her new volunteer role.

Joanne said: “I heard about the GoodSAM app via a Vistry colleague and also read that the NHS were asking for volunteers. Vistry is encouraging all furloughed staff to look for opportunities to help the national effort and I thought this would be the best way I could support those who need it.

“As someone who has been identified as on the shielded patient list due to breast cancer treatment, I am unable to carry out other functions that GoodSAM app volunteers can, so I thought I could offer a listening ear to others just by giving them a call when they require it.

“I have always liked helping people and a big part of my job is supporting and advising others. It is good for your own mental wellbeing to help others and to make a difference. I also want to give something back to the local community, and to help the NHS as they helped me when I went through my cancer treatment.

“If you are able to volunteer for the NHS then go for it! It is so rewarding being able to help others and your own act of kindness may make another person’s day and put a smile on their face.”

After being diagnosed with cancer, Joanne underwent lumpectomy surgery. After 18 weeks of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy, she is now on daily medication for the next 10 years to help prevent recurrence.

“Being on the shielded patient list only affects my ability to volunteer in the physical sense,” she added. “If it was up to me, I would be out in the community helping others – while maintaining the social distancing and wearing the appropriate PPE of course!

“I’ve always had an interest in mental health and wellbeing so jumped at the chance to undertake the mental health first aider course. I have already put it to use and helped someone who had concerns around their own mental health, being able to provide support and point them in the right direction to get the appropriate help they required.”

Joanne, who is married to Gary, has been in her current role for three years and is the lead advisor for Vistry Partnerships Yorkshire, which has a regional head office in Castleford.

She has worked in housebuilding for 10 years, and health and safety for more than 17. In 2017, Joanne achieved the Chartered Membership with IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health), her career highlight.