To mark Volunteers Week, which runs from 1-7 June every year, we hosted a special event to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our Trust and say thank you.
The theme of this year’s Volunteers’ Week is ‘celebrate and inspire’. As well as inspiring people to volunteer and be the change they want to see, the week also aims to highlight the incredible diversity of volunteers.
At SWLSTG, we have a team of around 70 volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to supporting not only our staff and services users, but also the carers and families of the people we care for. Our volunteers bring skills, knowledge and a desire to make a difference to our services and local communities.
Here are some testimonies from some of our fantastic volunteers:
Virginia is one of our longest standing volunteers, having been a volunteer with the Trust for more than ten years. Virginia currently volunteers on Ward 2 and Crocus Ward, co-facilitating a music group with the activity co-ordinators.
Virginia said: “I volunteer because it helps me to understand more about all aspects of mental health, as I have a long-standing family history of severe mental health issues. Supporting and helping others when in need is very important to me, for my personal growth.”
Eva, an occupational therapist on Crocus Ward, said: “I have had the pleasure of working closely with Virginia for about ten years. She is the most dedicated, committed, generous and talented volunteer I have ever known. She is passionate about what she does and is exceptionally good at it. And she has a lovely, warm, caring presence. Her music sessions really make a difference on our ward, and she is much liked and appreciated by both patients and staff! She is an inspiration to others and we are very lucky to have her!"
Jose and Mr Bob
Jose has been for volunteering with his dog Mr Bob for the last two years.
Jose said: “A few years back my partner experienced mental health issues and I didn’t know how to help or support. It was difficult and almost like learning another language. To overcome my challenges and to learn more about mental illness, I decided to volunteer at Springfield Hospital. I volunteer together with my dog Mr Bob, who has a very calm and loving personality.
“As a result of our volunteer work, I’ve gained so much confidence, new skills and very valuable work experience. I’ve also became the mental health first aider where I work.”
Deidre is one of our spiritual and pastoral care volunteers.
Deidre said: “I volunteer since I have the gift of time and can spend it how I wish. I love being with people and hearing their stories: that is reward enough.”
Mandy Beck, our current Spiritual and Pastoral Care Lead, said: “Deidre has consistently and loyally volunteered for the Trust over many years. Her care and compassion is second to none. She listens with genuine interest to service users and staff.”
Peter has been a volunteer at the Trust for almost ten years and describes it as ‘a pleasure and a privilege’.
Laura Cavina, our involvement volunteer coordinator, said: “I would like to thank Peter for his patience, resilience and consistency as a volunteer. As well as his wonderful skills as a musician, he brings compassion, warmth and a listening ear to all those he meets on our wards.”
Kirsty Pratt and Szekan
Kirsty and Szekan are both volunteers supporting our Phoenix Unit.
Kirsty, who is currently perusing a certificate in counselling studies, said: “Volunteering allows me to work alongside and learn from highly experienced, knowledgeable and caring staff while also making a meaningful contribution to the wellness of the service users I interact with.”
Szekan has a degree in psychodrama psychotherapy and volunteers as a way of practicing her skills as a psychotherapist.
Szekan said: "Generations inspired through stories is the thread that runs through my sessions. I treasure every encounter with service users and colleagues. We listen to old stories and we make new ones."
Feeling inspired? Visit our volunteers page to find out who you can get involved.