International Volunteer Day

This Saturday 5th December is International Volunteers Day. We simply couldn’t do what we do without our amazing, dedicated volunteers so this week we are turning the spotlight on them and celebrating everyone who gives their time to West Kent Mind.

We have over 130 volunteers including trustees, counsellors, befrienders, admin & fundraising support, and community wellbeing group volunteers. They all give their time, expertise, humour, knowledge, skills, enthusiasm and passion to support our clients and our staff team.

To each and every one of you – THANK YOU!

People give their time to us for many reasons. Some of our volunteers chose to join us after personal experience of mental health problems who want to support others, some want to meet new people and increase their knowledge or skill set and some simply to help others.

Read about some of our volunteer’s stories here, and if you are interested in volunteering contact us to find out more hello@westkentmind.org.uk

Neil – Gardening Group

Aside from the obvious pleasure derived from helping people, for me one of the interesting things about volunteering is meeting people you may not have normally met in life. Perhaps the gardening group is unique in that everyone outside is aiming towards a common goal, regardless of individual condition which can remain unspoken or shared. We’re all in the same boat (or in this case garden!), and there is something life affirming about meeting up in it.”

Rebecca – Creative Minds and Wellbeing

 

I have been working as a volunteer for WKM for over 2 years helping out at 2 groups based in Edenbridge. I retired from a long career in social work including many years in a mental health team. The two groups I support are Creative Minds and Well-being. After the pressures of frontline social work volunteering for WKM has been so refreshing and fulfilling. I can help to support people in nurturing their creativity, health and well-being , something that was impossible to do working in statutory services. I have always felt valued and supported by the group facilitators . My experience has highlighted the importance of group activities in promoting feelings of belonging, purpose and friendship. Of course the pandemic has meant that more recently we can only meet up virtually on zoom which has more limited benefits , but I am looking forward to reconnecting with everyone once we are able.”

Simon – Solace Cafe

 

 

I first thought about volunteering for MIND after I met a chap on holiday, a former teacher, who had suffered a breakdown a year or so earlier. He had experienced mental health issues and as a result wanted to help others in a similar situation. He enrolled as a volunteer with MIND to train as a counsellor with a view to carrying it on as a new career. His story struck a chord with me. Following the birth of my first child together with moving house and changing job roles I suffered anxiety and depression for 5 years. This was a difficult and challenging time but one I coped with through various counselling techniques and medication.

I have a successful city career but felt I could do more in the wider world to help others and so I followed my friend’s example and contacted my local branch of MIND. I spoke to Angela Riley, she suggested I come along to the Solace Café where I met with Lorraine who showed me the ropes. I didn’t know what to expect but I soon learnt (and am learning). Through the Solace Cafe I’ve met some great people – both clients and staff – and I really enjoy the experience. I intend to continue and do more in the future with this fantastic charity.”

Bernard – Skiffle Express Music Group

 

After a working life in the stressful advertising world I knew it wouldn’t be easy to wind down straight away. So when a friend ask to me to attend a music session at WKM to see if volunteering would be of interest I jumped at the opportunity. I was so impressed with the dedicated WKM team and the enthusiasm of the volunteers I couldn’t resist. After having to deal with the inflated egos of advertising types it was real joy to join the team. Since joining five years ago I have witnessed the huge amount of pleasure that playing music, especially in a group situation can give and truly helps in coping with mental health issues. The bond that has formed between WKM clients and to see how they look after each is wonderful. I hope I can continue to assist for many more years as I am sure it helps with my wellbeing also!