Thank you to all Touchstone Volunteers and everyone who volunteers!
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
Touchstone volunteers are an amazing group of people who are passionate friendly, engaged and dedicated in supporting Touchstone, and we thank them this week and beyond for their contributions.
Volunteer Role: Group Facilitator at Touchstone Support Centre
What is your volunteer role and what does it involve?
I volunteer at Touchstone support Centre twice a week and support the ‘men’s group’ and ‘social group’. All the service users who attend these groups are experiencing some form of mental health difficulties. I support staff in setting up the group sessions, opening and closing the drop in area, supporting service users taking part and engaging in activities, and providing emotional support where needed, being a listening ear and supporting service users in ordering lunch. At the Support Centre I have good conversations with the service users, a lot of laughter and we enjoy each others company which is beneficial for everyone’s wellbeing.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I have personal experience of mental health which is currently managed in a number of ways including volunteering. With the support of Support Centre staff I am now at a stage where I am able to manage my mental health. I have learnt many techniques which I share with service users. I used to be socially isolated and couldn’t face others.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your volunteering?
It is a great feeling to see service users attending and engaging in activities, having conversation with others and overall feeling well. Many of the service users don’t get out much so coming to the groups helps them reduce their isolation and build their confidence. Overall seeing the client’s happiness makes me feel happy.
Tell us about a highlight of your volunteering?
I have made many new friends and attend regular volunteer events such as volunteer lunch events and group support meetings.
How has volunteering helped you personally? What does it mean to you?
I enjoy meeting other people, I am no longer socially isolated. I have learnt many new skills and am confident in managing elements of the groups. It is also a really good positive feeling when you have personally helped someone to feel better especially when they are experiencing mental health difficulties. The dosage of medication I am taking for my own mental health has reduced as I am now engaging in activities and maintaining my wellbeing. I am always looking out for interesting things to take part in. I also feel I am giving back to Touchstone as they were there to support me and now I would like to continue to help them to support others.
What’s the one thing you would tell someone about volunteering?
Volunteer, just do it, it’s a very rewarding experience.