Friday and Saturday nights can be rather busy in any accident and emergency department, as you can imagine. The medical team are looking after numerous patients with a whole host of injuries and conditions. Whilst the doctors, nurses and support staff work tirelessly to keep wait times down and make sure everyone is seen to, Starting Point have trained, equipped and are running a team of volunteer Navigators keen to relieve some of the pressure by simply having a chat with the young people who attend A&E.
On Friday and Saturday nights, between 8:00 in the evening and midnight, the Navigators are on hand. Any young person aged between 13 and 24 who attend A&E for a range of reasons can have a confidential and non-judgmental conversation with a friendly face. They also can’t be missed – wearing bright orange polo shirts! Whether the young person wants to talk about why they are in A&E, what their favourite hobby is or what they want to do in the future, the Navigators are around to have a chat.
These specially trained volunteers also have access to multiple local services and groups within the local community. Starting Point have got good relationship with organisations across the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire areas and these organisations can be discussed with a Navigator. The Navigator can also signpost the young people onto these organisations and one of the team will be able to journey with the young person as they access the relevant support or community group.
The service is already proving useful as the Navigators have been able to have conversations with young people whilst on shift and young people have been referred when no-one has been on shift onto the Navigator programme by medical staff. These young people have found it beneficial and helpful to have a conversation whilst in hospital and have been able to access support, whether that be through mentoring at Starting Point or other services within the local area.
The programme is now established and the BBC wanted to come and have a look firsthand at what Starting Point had been up to, what being a Navigator involves and the good work it is achieving. Have a watch of the video below, which shows the report that was on BBC South Today.
Do you have capacity to volunteer one Friday or Saturday evening once every 4-6 weeks? Are you interested in finding out more about the Navigator programme?
Please call Starting Point on 0118 995 2160 or use our Contact Us page to get in contact with one of the team.
Sam (Starting Point’s Project Director) and Tim (RBH Navigator Coordinator) discuss the Navigator programme in a short video below. Check it out and if you think someone else would be interested in the Navigator programme, please do share it with them.
The Navigator programme would not be possible without the support and partnership between Starting Point, the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, the Royal Berkshire Hospital and all the amazing staff there as well as the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.