Lea on mental health and volunteering

For National Mental Health and National Volunteers Week I would like to share how volunteering for Future Intentions has changed my life.

I met Liz Hempshall (founder of Future Intentions) when I signed up to do the confidence building course in January 2019, my initial meeting with Liz was a one to one meeting to why I was wanting to do the course and what I wanted to achieve from doing it. We then filled out all the relevant paper work and enrolled me onto the course.

On the first day of the confidence building course I was very nervous and shy and could sense others in the group felt the same, to break the ice we went round the room introducing ourselves and reasons why we are attending the course.

I think having that icebreaker helped people in the group feel more relaxed and know they weren’t alone on how they were feeling at the time.

Over the course of the four weeks of the course the skills and techniques we learnt during the sessions helped me change the way I saw myself and helped me build a better resilience to how others saw me and treated me. Changing the way I reacted to negative behaviour and criticism has given me a better prospective and has shown me better ways of dealing with situations so I can do so positively.

I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so I get very anxious and suffer from depression, so the techniques have helped me move out of my comfort zone and want to do more things for myself and give myself the chance to progress, gain more skills and qualifications further down the line.

Towards the end of the course Liz mentioned that she was looking for a volunteer to help her promote her business, attend and help out at Job Fairs, promoting the services and courses provided by Future Intentions, also networking with other businesses and signing up people who are interested in the services provided.

On the first week in February I attended my first Volunteering meeting with Liz and the rest of the voluntary staff and filled in all the paperwork needed and discussed how the business is going at the moment and how we were going to move the business forward as a team, a couple of weeks later I attended my first Job Fair with Liz in Malton. During my train journey over to Malton I was very excited and couldn’t wait to see what the day had in store for us. During the Job Fair we had quite a few people come and talk to us and I went around other stalls in the hope to network and pass on our information, also to see what other services were available.

I got talking to a couple of people from other businesses who were interested in what we had to offer and I told them that I had just recently attended one of the confidence building courses, one of them commented “from talking to you today I thought you already had lots of confidence” which made me feel good about myself.

My next Job Fair was in March in York it was a lot bigger than the one we attended in Malton, this time I was a little more nervous and apprehensive to how the day was going to go, once I got there I could already see it was quite busy. Even though I was nervous I was eager to get started and as the day was going on enjoyed meeting and engaging with conversation with people.

Once a week we have weekly meetings and have our own tasks to complete, over the course of the weeks I have been designing a new brochure and information leaflet, to distribute out to businesses and prospective clients.

Since working for Future Intentions I have felt more confident and have enjoyed engaging in the tasks set each week, as it has made me feel part of the team and has given me a sense of purpose.

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