“As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing too. It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help you gain valuable new skills and experiences, and boost your confidence.” (Volunteers’ Week website)
Last week – 1 to 7 June 2019 – was Volunteers’ Week and to thank our many volunteers at Bristol Mind we held a celebratory evening involving live music, food and drink and a prize winning quiz.
In the Outreach Advocacy Service, as in Bristol Mind’s other services, it is not just about a once a year party though! We try to support and reward our volunteers as much as possible. We do this by:
- Verbally thanking them for what they do
- Giving positive feedback
- Providing on-going training
- Regular one-to-one supervision (every 4 weeks)
- Monthly Support and Supervision Group
- Pay out-of-pocket expenses
- Social events (we’re getting to be dab hands at skittles!)
- Providing interesting and challenging things to do
A new cohort of Advocacy Volunteers (pictured below) are in the process of putting into practice what they learnt on the basic training with their first cases. The group, although made up of very different people, gelled very quickly and became fast learners. As the Co-ordinator it’s exciting to have such as diverse range of people to choose from when allocating clients to advocates and to be involved with a team with lots of energy and enthusiasm. I have been in this post for almost 16 years and still find it very rewarding as do the volunteers.
“Working as an advocate and having trained with Bristol Mind in particular has given me invaluable practical skills – as well as confidence and resilience – that I have been able to take forward in many aspects of my life” (Female Volunteer Advocate)
We usually recruit Advocacy volunteers approximately every 12-18 months so do not expect to train more before May 2020. However if you do wish to get involved with Bristol Mind, please keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, or our website for announcements.