Local Mental Health project supports people into volunteering

SV Project Group

Local Mental Health project supports people into volunteering

The Supported Volunteering Project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and delivered by Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS) finds voluntary roles for people who may have experienced mental ill health in the Southend area. The successful project has run for 8 years and helped over 400 people.

The project co-ordinator, Rachel Rooks, holds one to one sessions to help people identify the type of volunteering they would like whilst addressing their individual needs and goals. Previous volunteering has ranged from looking after chickens to volunteering at Southend Hospital.

An example of this is Janine who has PTSD & depression and first got in contact with the Supported Volunteering Project 6 months ago.

Janine says: “Since finishing work in 2009 I felt all my confidence had been zapped from me. I used to struggle to meet new people and leave my home. Rachel found me a volunteering role which I could do from my house. She suggested volunteering from home to start with until I felt confident enough to volunteer in the community.

Volunteering has given me a boost, I am feeling less anxious and more confident. I feel healthier and happier and I love being able to help others and feel useful again.”

The project not only benefits individuals but also the charities, social enterprises and community groups they volunteer for. Jill Poet, CEO of Healthy Life Essex, says:

‘Having a volunteer makes such a difference to our social enterprise. If we didn’t have volunteer help it would be difficult to ensure the events featured in our wellbeing web resource are kept up to date. We are very grateful to have this support and would like to thank Rachel at SAVS for finding us a fantastic volunteer.”

If you would like to learn more about the Supported Volunteering Project contact Rachel Rooks, Project co-ordinator by calling 01702 356021