NNP-4_GENTOO_MELDRUMLocal initiative Over2You is aiming to improve the quality of health and social care in the NHS North Commissioning Area by inviting people to access free training to become volunteers tasked with promoting a higher standard of care in their area.


The three year pilot is a product of north east social enterprise Gentoo Group alongside partners South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) and St. Vincent’s Housing Association (SVHA) and is seeking those who have personal experience of services such as hospital care, mental health services, care homes, domestic abuse services or sheltered accommodation – this can be personally or via a friend or family.

Volunteers will be fully trained to provide advice and information, empowering local people to ensure they are aware of their rights when accessing health and care.

The role of the volunteer will be to help identify what fantastic care looks like and deliver this message throughout the health and social care services that are accessed by our communities every day.

Michelle Meldrum, Managing Director (Gentoo Operations) said: “We are excited to be part of this project and look forward to delivering this service alongside our customers. As a social enterprise we believe this is a great opportunity to raise awareness and help increase quality of health and social care in our areas.

“This is a real chance for our customers to help shape services and learn new skills, and with their help, we look forward to improving the Art of Living by working in partnership with the Over2You partners.”

Benefits of volunteering for Over2You include:

  • The opportunity to meet and work with other people who access Health & Social Care services and together help improve the quality of care in your area
  • The opportunity to complete a custom-made training course, gaining a recognised qualification that has been accredited by the National Open College Network.
  • A certificate for volunteering which could support future job applications
  • Increased health and wellbeing from a volunteering experience
  • Knowledge which may benefit you, your family, friends and your community
  • You will be fully supported by the Project Co-ordinator and a healthcare professional


Over2You aims to work as a ‘critical friend’ to services in the area, with volunteers carrying out Quality Questionnaires which will then form a Quality Insight Report, allowing the service to see what quality care looks like through the eyes of their customers so that changes and improvements can be made where needed.


If you are based in Sunderland and would like to volunteer to be part of Over2You or know someone who may be interested in this exciting new opportunity, please contact Gentoo Project Co-ordinator Jessica Clark-Barkess on 0191 525 5000 or by emailing jess.clark-barkess@gentooliving.com.


Gentoo Group’s whole ethos is about believing nothing is impossible and finding new ways to challenge conventions, Gentoo aims to make society a better place to live and to make a real difference to the way people live their life. To find out more about Gentoo, visit gentoogroup.com for more information or follow @gentoogroup on Twitter.