Volunteering on a community mental health project with Touchstone Community Development Service

volunteer-652383_1280I have been a carer for my mother, who was suffering from severe depression, for over 10 years. I came in contact with Touchstone during that time as a service user; my experience as a service user of Touchstone was exceptional. I found that they were very informative, helpful and understanding.

Redundancy came up at my work place and I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to do something in the field of Mental Health as it was something that was really personal and close to my heart. I came across a leaflet looking for volunteers for the project Islam and Mental Health, I felt it was really important to be part of this project as I had lived experience with caring for my mum, the challenges and barriers that I had faced would benefit the project in a positive way.

I volunteered with Touchstone because as an organistaion they had helped me so much and I wanted to give something back.

I found volunteering on the project very challenging in a positive way. I learnt so much about myself, made so many friends, learnt so much about my own community and felt that it was the best decision that I had made. I found the whole experience very rewarding and an excellent growing curve for me. I built my confidence and got to know myself better and found that I had skills that I had never noticed before.

Speaking at Touchstone’s AGM was a huge step for me; I am a shy person and speaking in front of a large audience was quite nerve racking but the continuous support that I have received from my coordinator Stephanie helped me to overcome my insecurities. It was lovely to meet the rest of the teams that work/volunteer at Touchstone. I felt at home, everyone was so kind and it felt like ‘one big family’.

The project involved facilitating sessions in the community, at events and at centers and I also took part in an interview on FM radio about Mental Health. This is something that I would never have thought that I would be able to do.

Whilst volunteering on this project I had many opportunities to get paid work, firstly as an Administrator then as a Health Development Assistant for SADEE SMILE and now a Health Development Worker for Mental Health.

I am very pleased and happy with the progress I have made since joining Touchstone and look forward to the future.

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