The Supported Volunteering Project is a Big Lottery funded project, supporting people who have experienced mental ill health into volunteering.
Project coordinator Rachel Rooks has been working with Charlene since March 2018.
Here is her story:
I have always had a difficult time with my mental health, from the age of 16, up until a couple of years. After the death of both my parents I decided I needed some support, SAVS was the first place I visited. They helped sign post me to places that could help support my mental health and dealing with losing my parents. I was introduced to Rachel, Supported Volunteering Project, and she helped me find a voluntary role.
Volunteering has helped so much, and opened so many doors, I’m so glad I found it! I volunteer for HARP, Southend’s homeless charity. I help out in the kitchen, which serves meals to homeless people. I love my volunteering!
Volunteering has helped me overcome my anxiety around meeting new people. I also feel much more confident going to new places on my own and I have started to learn new skills. I now try different things and experiences that I would never choose to do before. Volunteering at HARP has introduced me to a new world that was always there for me and it was my anxiety that was stopping me from experiencing it.
Rachel has been brilliant at finding me volunteering roles and supporting me, she cares and understands me. She also helps me to feel safe and secure, which is a big thing for me. Anyone who is thinking about volunteering, I say go for it! What do you have to lose?