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Mental Health Awareness Hackney

Meet Richard, our Step Up programme manager. He shares his thoughts on how volunteering can play a role in supporting better mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 15-21 May this year. Richard, who manages our Step Up programme, wanted to mark it by reflecting on the pivotal role volunteering can play in supporting better mental health.

Over 75% of volunteers reported that volunteering improved their mental health and wellbeing, according to a report from NCVO. That connection between mental health and volunteering is why VCH started the Step Up programme in 2015.

Step Up aims to support people with mental health issues to access, and continue, volunteering as part of their mental health recovery and personal journey towards employment. The team provide 1-2-1 support, life coaching courses, employability workshops, volunteer taster sessions and a personalised brokerage service – finding people the right role for their needs. This combination has had some fantastic results.

In our last comprehensive survey we found 90% of Step Up members reported an increase in confidence and 70% an improvement in their mental wellbeing. These results were echoed by this comment a few weeks ago from one of our current members:

I am so glad to be part of the Step Up project.  It has changed my life. I love feeling that I have such kind and friendly people around me to support me and encourage me to try new things and meet new people. It has really helped me to rebuild my confidence and find new value in myself and other people. 

This quote beautifully shows how finding connection with others, and fulfilment through activity, can transform how we feel about ourselves. It goes to show how volunteering and improved mental wellbeing can go hand in hand – and Volunteer Hackney’s Step Up Team is delighted to celebrate all our members’ achievements this week.

You can find out how to refer yourself or someone else to Step Up here. Please note that you do not need a doctor’s diagnosis.

For more volunteer opportunities in Hackney, you can head over to VCConnect.

You can also book an appointment with us if you’d like a member of our team to walk you through the process.

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