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Tags: Volunteering

Lee’s story part 3: From volunteering to employment

Lee Dale, Community Development Coordinator of VOICES, talks to us about his 10 year journey from rough sleeping to his recent full time employment.… Continue Reading

Rough Sleeping, to citywide teaching

VOICES lee points it out
Lee Dale, Expert citizens, VOICES   In 2014 I was invited to do a short interview with Darren Murinas, Expert Citizens.  At the time I was very much still ‘in the fight’.  I say this because I was addicted to substances, including benzodiazepines and, although I was staying in temporary shared housing accommodation, I was technically homeless.  In the film I shared my lived experiences of addiction, mental ill health and homelessness.  The film was later used for 1001 Lives storytelling.  My story begins….   I came from an impoverished family and received free school meals which meant I was ‘different’ from the start –this resulted in me always having a low opinion of myself. I have grown up with these feelings which have affected me as an adult. I have recently found in my recovery that I was suffering with a mental health illness known as Social Anxiety Disorder.  This is a result of my experiences at school, not to forget the depression I experienced due to the death of my father when I was fourteen years old and later the death of my mother in 2009.  The latter sadly meant that I became homeless -this was a result, in my opinion, of, not… Continue Reading

Making Sense of Social Prescribing

VOICES social prescribing
By Steve Barkess, Community Development Coordinator, VOICES This month as a member of the community development team here at VOICES I attended a workshop focusing on social prescribing. For Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire this new approach will look at different and more holistic methods of supporting people who are experiencing mental ill health, loneliness or isolation to replace sometimes unnecessary medical interventions. The concept of social prescribing recognises the various factors that contribute to a person’s overall health. This includes the socio-economic and psycho-social factors of everyday life for people of all ages by utilising what is available within the local community and how this can be accessed. Individuals will be referred to social prescribing by a healthcare professional such as GP, health visitor, or community nurse as an example. The event: The social prescribing event was well attended, which demonstrates the range of public and third sector organisations that have a keen interest of this model of support. To kick start the day we were provided with evidence based presentations of pilots throughout the UK which showed that this model has the capacity to work well not only for patients but also to reduce the pressures on already stretched GP and frontline services.… Continue Reading

Volunteering and Me

VOICES danny
Author: Danny Daniels – VOICES Peer Mentor I first thought about volunteering when I was in the resettlement stage of rehab. My partner at the time was also volunteering but I never really understood what they got from it, or anyone else that volunteered either. I used to think to myself ‘ooh that’s nice of them’, I always thought that people who volunteered where those who didn’t need to work and had plenty of spare time on their hands. I started volunteering twelve months ago and since then my perception of why people volunteer has completely changed. Now I have achieved tangible things such as my level two ITC qualification and a level three peer mentor qualification. I not only have a developed a real in-depth knowledge of the issues faced by people experiencing multiple and complex needs but I have maintained my professional development and insight into services. On a personal level my confidence and self-belief has doubled and I have hope in people being able to succeed in their recovery. I am able to use my lived experience.  I have learned to use my experiences from a negative place and use them in a positive way. I can now see myself being employed,… Continue Reading

From First Impressions through Reflection to Fulfillment

VOICES peer mentoring - Dan
Author: Dan Jones, VOICES Peer Mentor & Expert Citizen A Journey from Volunteering to Higher Education “Am I in the right place?”   “Me…at University?” “OK – I’ll give it a go”   My first day at University These were my first thoughts.  I was at University because I am a volunteer Peer Mentor in the VOICES partnership and had been provided with the opportunity of completing a level 3 Peer Mentoring qualification which meant that I needed to attend university for 6 weeks.  I felt, at first, that I was doing it for VOICES, not for me – ‘a bit of an obligation’.  I thought of the course as being ‘separate’ from my mentoring. I was just an addict who, through some miracle, had gotten clean and could provide some visual recovery to others whilst the professionals did the important work. When I arrived on my first day I was made to feel very much at ease by the two course tutors whom I soon felt comfortable with.  They introduced themselves and began to give an overview of what we would be doing on the course; what we would achieve together; what it was all about. My defences began to come down and I felt… Continue Reading

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