Alex is a young man with mental health issues supported by a social worker and recovery workers. He presented at an organisation to find out about an activity.
Alex made several visits to this organisation and would always have his hood up and his body language made others perceive him as not wanting to interact. During his visits a staff member encouraged him to have a coffee and a chat.
As a result of these chats Alex put himself forward to volunteer although it was hard at the time to see what Alex had to offer. His appearance was different, he had a criminal record and he found interaction challenging. There were concerns about Alex and how well he would fit in with the organisation.
However, through the perseverance of this particular staff member one year later Alex began volunteering.
It has given me something to focus on and the motivation to get out and do something constructive. It’s good to work with other volunteers and staff and gives me good social contact. I like having varied tasks and feel like we help each other. It’s good to have responsibilities. It was worth sticking with it and waiting for all the red tape to be seen through.
The volunteer manager says:
When Alex started he would always arrive with his hood up and not looking comfortable. Since then the physical changes in Alex’s appearance reflect his improved well being. He arrives, hood down, with a smile and looking forward to his shift.
Alex started with one morning a week providing practical support to staff, a few months later he took on a second shift as a volunteer in our kitchen. He is highly regarded by the staff and members and is a proactive and flexible member of our volunteer team. His confidence is growing and at his last review we discussed him taking on a more interactive role with members e.g. Facilitating a quiz.
He is a talented individual with a lot to offer, he just needed the right support and understanding and an opportunity to grow.