Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1 to 7 June every year and gives us a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to the Trust and say thank you to each and every single one of them.
At SWLStG, we have over 50 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.
We spoke to Ayesha, who has been a volunteer at the Trust for the last 12 months. Ayesha has lived experience of mental health difficulties and talks about the role art therapy has played in her recovery.
“I started volunteering because I wanted to give others the same valuable support I received when I needed help.” explains Ayesha. “I had a marital breakdown almost 30 years ago and was helped by the support of my family, GP and mental health services at SWLStG. They helped me to overcome the severe anxiety I was feeling and gain self-confidence and determination.
“But it was when I rediscovered my painting skills after becoming an aunt 11 years ago that I realised the benefits of art therapy. It helped to alleviate some of the anxiety I was feeling and has played a pivotal role in my life ever since.
“I wanted to use my passion for art to help others, so when I joined SWLStG as a volunteer I offered to run art activities on the wards, like painting Christmas decorations and pictures for the walls. I really enjoy seeing the difference art can make to someone’s recovery. Helping others has also had a positive effect on my own mental health and wellbeing.”
Ayesha has recently completed training to be a peer support worker with the Trust’s Involvement Team. They help to make sure that our services and policies are led and shaped by the people best placed to know what works: people who have lived experience of using mental health services, their carers, family and friends.
On why she enjoys volunteering at the Trust, Ayesha says: “The support I’ve received throughout my volunteering journey here has been invaluable. I’m also really grateful to the Involvement Team who have supported me to make the step from volunteer to peer support worker.”