SOMERSET'S independent health and care champion is urging people to be more actively involved in decisions around their health and wellbeing.

Healthwatch Somerset is appealing for volunteers for roles ranging from talking to people about their experiences of local health and care services to sitting on the board of directors.

Julie Draper, volunteer officer at Healthwatch Somerset, said: "Whatever your background, we are keen to hear from you if you think you could fill one of these roles.

"People can make a real difference to their communities and help to shape their local health and care services."

Stephen Sharples, from Langport, is encouraging people to join him as a Healthwatch volunteer.

He said: "I know people don’t like to complain, but if the health services doesn’t hear about a problem, then nothing changes.

"When a complaint is made, it’s usually put right and then all those who go after you have a much better experience.

"Local people can help shape health and care services in Somerset by letting Healthwatch know what their concerns are, so that they can be collated and fed back to the local NHS management.

"I would urge people to have a go, whether that’s volunteering or sharing your views with Healthwatch – it’s not just about your own health matters, it’s for the people of Somerset!”

All volunteers go through a full training and personal development programme, while out of pocket expenses are reimbursed.

To find out more about volunteering with Healthwatch Somerset call Julie on 01278-264405, e-mail or visit