Blog

01 Jun 2021

Our amazing volunteers are helping the nation to enjoy better bone health and supporting people to live well with osteoporosis, right across the UK.

They support our work in a huge range of ways - from hosting public information events and running support groups, to sharing their experiences and raising funds - and they come from lots of different walks of life.

From connecting our volunteers remotely during the pandemic, to acting as patient advocates, we spoke to them about what volunteering means to them.

Meet Jeannie

Jeannie works with our support groups in different parts of the country, helping the volunteers who lead them to plan and run their local meetings using online conference software.

Jeannie was looking for something interesting to do from home during lockdown and spotted an item in our regular magazine, Osteoporosis News, asking for volunteers who felt confident using the internet to help support Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) support groups as an Online Champion. She explains, “Although I’m not an especially technical person, I’ve used the internet at work and home, and enjoy helping others to do the same, so I got in touch to find out more.”

The pandemic meant that the Volunteering team had to act quickly to make sure people using the service continued to feel supported through such a difficult time. Jeannie says, “In a way, the pandemic created the need for the Online Champion role, with ROS support groups unable to meet face-to-face, and now we’re all realising the advantages of holding some meetings online.”

Jeannie would recommend her experience so far, saying, “I’ve found the ROS team to be so helpful and supportive, always ready to answer questions and help find solutions. It's given me something new and interesting to get my teeth into, a sense of pride, and of being valued.”

Meet Nic

Nic is a Patient Advocate for the ROS and is part of our Osteoporosis and Bone Research Academy, dedicated to progressing osteoporosis research.

Nic explains, “From the outset it was made clear that the Academy was to be patient-centric, which to me means a practical, pragmatic approach that puts those with osteoporosis at the heart of research priorities.”

Nic is a member of the advisory committee that manages the strategy and governance of the Academy, reviews reports from the working groups, and advises and reports to the ROS Board of Trustees. He said, “The first phase of work began in 2019 and this work led, despite the pandemic restrictions, to the launch of the Academy’s Research Roadmap in December 2020. We are now well into the start of phase two, which is focused on formulating and running research projects.”

Nic’s work and that of our other Patient Advocates, plays a vital role in our work. He explains, “The important thing we bring to the party is that ever-present question of, how, and how soon, can we translate work into something that will benefit those living with osteoporosis?”

Meet Judith and Sholto

Judith is the Liverpool support group’s Treasurer and has been the Membership Secretary since 2016. Sholto joined the committee in 2020, just before lockdown started.

Through our network of support groups, you can connect with people in your area going through the same thing as you. Judith says, “Having already been diagnosed with osteoporosis and having seen the devastating effect that the condition had had on my mum's mobility and lifestyle, I was determined to learn more about the condition and to help other people.”

Sholto said, “I had been coming to meetings with Judith and started to assist with guiding people to the lecture theatre and helping with the sale of raffle tickets. I have now learned how to use Microsoft Teams and became the group's facilitator for these meetings.”

The pandemic had a big impact on the way the support groups across the UK were run, with many meetings stopping and moving online. Sholto explains: “To begin with I felt that we were going to lose all contact with our members as we were unable to liaise directly with them. However, the online meetings are a success - in fact, we had 32 people at our first online meeting!”

What would Judith say to people considering volunteering at the ROS? She says, “Go for it as you will meet lots of other like-minded people. It's like one big family.”

Find out more about volunteering

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer?