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Change your life by being a volunteer (supporting Mental Health Awareness Week 2014)

Mental Health Awareness Week from 12-18th May 2014 is raising awareness of anxiety.

Community Action Suffolk is keen to share great stories about the power of the volunteer and how it can help individuals who are recovering from mental health illnesses.

With your help, we want to reach as many people as possible to help them to understand, manage and overcome the anxiety which can impact on our daily lives, so please feel free to share our stories we are publishing this week.


mental health awareness week
Change your life by being a volunteer.

Today, we present two fantastic individuals who give up their time to make a difference. They took their first steps into the unknown of volunteering and found that this was a great experience for them, as well as for the organisation which they supported.

Sarah’s story

I was introduced to Elaine at the Haverhill Volunteer Centre via the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) and the Shaw Trust in January 2013, after losing my job due to mental health ill health.

My confidence was very low, so it was suggested that I did a couple of hours on Mondays to help with the administration duties in the office. It was very hard to interact with people and it took all of my strength to leave the house on Monday mornings to come into the office.

Well, two years later I am still here! My confidence has risen by 100% and I have been given the opportunity to attend various courses including basic first aid, computing, and autism awareness, and it’s nice to add the new skills I have gained to my C.V.

I have also attended various meetings and fundraising activities, something I wouldn’t have considered doing two years ago, and I really enjoy it, and look forward to coming into the office. I have also started to do some work with another charity organisation which has helped me gain new computer skills and enabled me to meet new people.

With the help and support from Elaine at Community Action Suffolk, I can face the future with the knowledge that I can achieve anything I put my mind to! Now I have got a C.V. together and feel more positive about looking for employment. I have been lucky to have seen the hard work and dedication Elaine gives to the community and volunteers, and feel very grateful to have been included in it.

Joe’s story

“Joe”, aged 16 from the Forest Heath area, has diagnosed depression and special educational needs. At first, this young man was very unresponsive to volunteering and didn’t see the point in “doing something for nothing”.

Gradually he noticed the benefits of volunteering to not only to his personal wellbeing, but also to his academic skills. When entering his final year at school he took on the task to supervise the Young InfoLink project within his school. He also put together and presented a Powerpoint presentation about the project to include the types of tasks the volunteers will be completing. His presentation was such a success, that other students are now looking forward to participating on the project in the next academic year.


Community Action Suffolk can help you find the perfect volunteering opportunity, whether you’ve just a couple of hours to give, or you would like to commit to something longer. Visit our volunteering pages to find out more, or contact volunteering@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk