Jennie’s volunteer story
Jennie’s volunteer story
For personal reasons, mental health and wellbeing have been very close to my heart for many years. This was something I wanted to become actively involved in. The opportunity had never arisen but that all changed when, as though by fate, I came across a MindSpace flyer in a local supermarket and I was keen to find out more. My phone call was greeted by a cheery lady and that is where my role as a MindSpace volunteer began.
I went to the induction with a little trepidation, but everyone was warm and welcoming and put me immediately at ease. After the session, I knew MindSpace was where I wanted to volunteer. I particularly liked the fact that everyone’s contribution was listened to and valued. Everyone, from those seeking support (who we refer to as ‘members’) to trustees, are treated as equals and we are totally non-judgemental. We have the opportunity of taking part in courses to further develop our skills and understanding of wellbeing. New opportunities are constantly coming up as MindSpace never stands still.
I am involved with the drop-in sessions and activities with other volunteers. We all have a close connection and support each other in every way possible. A MindSpace volunteer is never alone and has a professional support network. Members and anyone interested in coming to MindSpace are warmly welcomed and we very soon get to know people as individuals and make them feel comfortable in a safe environment. This enables members to express themselves without judgement and the volunteers to pick up on their needs. Some members may want to sit quietly; others get involved in the different activities and some just need us to listen and give them comfort in a quiet corner. Even in this time of crisis, we have still offered members a wide range of activities in a safe online environment.
Listening is an important part of our role and we have the opportunity of attending listening training which enables us to listen to a very deep level. It is the most effective way one can give empathy and compassion, giving members the feeling that what they say is valued and respected. I have found this a huge asset in my role as a volunteer. Having finished each session I always have a feeling of satisfaction that, in however small a way, I have been able to make someone’s life that bit happier and easier. We strive to make members’ time as enjoyable as possible and, importantly, to take away some sense of fulfilment.
I am proud and privileged to be part of the MindSpace team and would encourage anyone with an interest in mental wellbeing to get in touch and find out more. You will find a very warm welcome, a cheery smile and the opportunity to have a significant impact on the wellbeing of our community.
Jennie Widdop, Volunteer
This was one of a series of MindSpace articles published in The Stamford Mercury during the Coronavirus lockdown.