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  • Writer's picturegerpictus

Volunteering

Since I began volunteering for LiVE about two years ago I have noticed a clear difference – for the better – in my daily life. I can’t say that I’d actually go out and shout the merits of volunteering from the rooftops, but all changes for the better are good, aren’t they? At least those in the (recovery) sector tell us so. Personally I think ‘good’ needs definition and am of the party that is afraid of change because it is often just change for its own sake, but there again my middle name is Eeyore.

I volunteer for two hours a week. This doesn’t seem much, so what do these couple of hours do for me?

  • They give me an option to get out of the house, most of the time. There are times when because of my condition this isn’t possible, but volunteering is a means of combating isolation. Just this short time has a distinct effect: it takes a couple of days to work up to and involves me in thinking positively, getting ready and so on.

  • I feel that I make a difference to others through working with the team. The team’s aim, as you know, is to help others have a voice in issues that concern them in mental health, and helping with publicising this as well as other information makes me feel useful and valued. Feeling valued is great for the self-confidence we all need and sometimes find so hard to find. (I can’t think of a better way of saying that, but never mind)

  • I’ve also gaining new skills and knowledge. I’d never worked with a website before, and can now do so with some confidence, just keep the native HTML away from me, please. And for most of my life I’ve worked in the private sector, so moving to work in the voluntary sector has come as a real surprise. The silliest things seem such a change, such as the relaxed way people dress (no suits and ties! Jeans!!). Superficial but important. Maybe a symbol of an attitude focussing less on the outside. I think I would have been much happier working in such conditions in London, but that’s just not the way they do things up there.

So in summary volunteering has boosted my self-confidence and given me a chance to escape isolation – and I’m sure there would be some more for me to do if I could manage more time! It would be great to hear your views of volunteering, good or bad – have your say in the box below …


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