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VCme - Supported volunteering for people with mental health conditions

 

 

Helping those with mental health problems
to get involved with volunteering in a supportive environment
 
Volunteering is known to be beneficial to people with mental health problems.

It can provide the structure needed to aid recovery, as well as helping to raise self esteem, encouraging socialising and providing learning opportunities. But many still face obstacles to overcome before they can experience the rewards of volunteering.

Volunteer Centre West Berkshire’s VCme project aims to reduce the barriers and the stigma faced by volunteers with mental health problems. Individuals will be matched to a trained volunteer mentor who will provide support to those needing help as they take their first steps towards volunteering, helping them to develop the confidence to volunteer independently.

The project is delivering Mental Health First Aid training to local charities and community organisations to give them the knowledge and understanding needed to provide a welcoming and supportive environment to volunteers with mental health conditions.


The Project Co-ordinator will:

Meet individuals with mental health problems who are interested in volunteering. Individuals can be referred to us, or they may self refer.

Talk to the individual about why they wish to volunteer and the type of volunteering that would interest them, before helping them to identify an appropriate volunteer opportunity.

Contact the organisation that they wish to volunteer for.

Match them with a volunteer mentor who will accompany the individual to their first meeting with the organisation they wish to volunteer for and offer support and encouragement to the mentee as their volunteering progresses.

Manage the mentor / mentee relationship that will last a maximum of 3 months.

Helen had a responsible job as the manager of an elderly residential home, but a traumatic event left her with mental health problems and no longer able to work. She saw volunteering as a positive way to take some small steps towards returning to work, but found this to be a daunting prospect. However, with the support of Rosie, her VCme mentor, she was able to overcome her nerves and has been able to start volunteering a few hours a week in a nearby children’s centre.


Mike had been unable to work for several years due to depression, but felt ready to consider returning to work. He had identified a charity that he was keen to volunteer for, but in a rural location and was very nervous about catching the wrong bus and getting lost. But his mentor, Graham, was able to accompany him on the journey a few times until he was able to develop the confidence to travel independently.

“I am a great advocate for anything out there to help those with mental health issues. I received a formal diagnosis a few years ago, but have suffered most of my life. After a breakdown, volunteering combined with other support was hugely helpful to me and as a result of that volunteering I am now managing a site for a charity that I previously volunteered for. I have volunteers with mental health issues who I support and who welcome my understanding of their problems.

From a personal perspective I know that volunteering was a key element to being able to regain my confidence and secure my job which, whilst not my main objective, is something that may well be important to others.”


Alison

Mentoring is …

“A voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship in which an individual gives time to support another to enable them to make changes in their life”

(Mentoring & Befriending Foundation)


For further information please contact the VCme Project Co-ordinator

t: 01635 49004, e: info@vcwb.org.uk

or click here to download a PDF leaflet about the project
 
The VCme project is kindly supported by: 
 
The Englefield Trust Public Health & Well Being Board