£100,000 grant for new volunteer project

October 2022

We are delighted to have received a £100,000 grant from East Head Impact for a volunteering project that will help people with mental health problems take steps towards employment, external volunteering, education and training

Through the Volunteering in Mind project, we will use volunteering to support people who receive support with us in their recovery journey. It is expected that 34 peer volunteer roles will be created in the first two years in which people will use their own personal lived experience of mental health problems to support a total of 250 others.

We will use the two years of funding from West Sussex-based charitable trust East Head Impact to:

  • develop a programme of training for peer volunteers
  • create opportunities for peer volunteers within all of its support services
  • develop a supportive pathway that can help volunteers take the next steps into employment, external volunteering or further education
  • create an apprenticeship role to support the administration of this, and encourage applications from people with personal lived experience to apply.

West Sussex Mind Head of Operations Kate Scales said: “Part of the way in which we support people is helping them look beyond their mental health condition and strive for personal ambitions, creating meaningful relationships and personal connections.

“This includes creating pathways into volunteering (within West Sussex Mind) and through this gaining skills, confidence and connections that lead to opportunities for volunteering in other organisations, taking up further training or education or moving into or back into employment.

“We are delighted to have been given this money by East Head Impact to enable us to increase our work in this area and to provide training and support to our peer volunteers.”

Founder and Chair of East Head Impact Marc Boughton said: “Demand for mental health advice and support is increasing in these very challenging times and East Head Impact is therefore delighted and proud to support the invaluable work that West Sussex Mind carries out to help people with their mental health.

“West Sussex Mind is having a huge positive impact on the lives of those who use its services and we believe that the Volunteer in Mind project will increase that impact."

One of our current peer supporters is Littlehampton man Kirk Lord who received support with the charity, became involved in peer mentoring and now volunteers as a trustee on the Board. “Mental health has been an interest of mine for a long time. My previous security roles meant I came across many people who were struggling mentally, and this sparked an interest and a desire to learn more,” he said.

Kirk recently took the next steps into employment and West Sussex Mind linked him with a local employability project to support with CV writing, interview and job searching skills as well as support to build confidence.