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Investing in Volunteers (November 2020)

30 November 2020

We're proud to share the news that we have been awarded Investing in Volunteers for the fourth time.

Wendy, our Chief Executive shares her own volunteering experience and comments on our award.

'Volunteers are big part of our Health in Mind community. Volunteering has also played a huge part of my own life.

After graduating, I became a full time volunteer with Community Service Volunteers (CSV) now known as Volunteering Matters. I was part of a national network of young people from across the world volunteering up to 40 hours a week in return for somewhere to stay and pocket money. (I think it was around £15 a week!)

My parents were very supportive as I started my year long volunteer placement, supporting people with learning and physical disabilities, but I’m sure they had some private thoughts on my next step after University as my friends started their Graduate Management Programmes with healthy salaries and even healthier prospects!

I can honestly say I think I learned more in my volunteering role than my friends did in their management programmes, and this learning has stayed with me and guided me since.  While I was volunteering, staff working the project were awarded a backdated pay increase following COSLA regrading. The team pulled together and contributed some of their pay increase to me. I used the money to buy a beautiful Tulip shaped standing lamp which still has pride of place in my living room 25 years later. It’s a real symbol to me of how the staff team valued and recognised what I gave but even more than that, it’s a symbol of the care and kindness they showed me as I learned and grew as a volunteer…. and as a person.   

As Chief Executive of Health in Mind, it’s my hope that we can offer our volunteers the same respect, kindness and opportunities to develop I experienced. That is a shared hope brought to life by Health in Mind staff. I can say that with confidence as we have just be awarded with our Investing in Volunteers accreditation for the fourth time!

Every year around 200 people volunteer with Health in Mind, that’s around double the number of staff we have. Volunteers are involved across our organisation in administration, fundraising, supporting people and governance- even in recruiting new staff and volunteers. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and the skills, experience and diversity they bring.

I would like to thank the Health in Mind staff team for making volunteering with us such a rewarding experience. One volunteers told us ‘All members of staff I have interacted with have been nurturing and compassionate, i.e. helpful to me as a volunteer and to service users, with an obvious desire to makes lives better.’

I would also like to thank our volunteer team for being such an important part of our Health in Mind Community and for sharing so much of not only their time but of themselves.

And finally, I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad for bearing with me on my winding road to finding out who I am!'

Wendy

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