Volunteers Week 2022: Maireadh's story

May 2022

Maireadh gives her time twice a week to work on Help Point, our support and enquiries line. She tells us why she volunteers for West Sussex Mind

I’ve been volunteering with Help Point for nearly a year, doing two four-hour shifts a week. So I’m taking calls from people who need support, dealing with emails, and speaking to professionals, such as GPs and our Pathfinder partners.

I applied to volunteer with West Sussex Mind, because I was looking for a new voluntary opportunity. I have always done voluntary work. Even from a young age, my parents took me to help out at a day centre for the homeless in Nottingham and I helped serve tea and coffee. I’ve volunteered for day centres for the disabled, homeless charities and in elderly care homes.

But I was looking for a new challenge – and working at Help Point has provided that, as there’s a lot to learn in this role.

I’ve had cracking support from the team at West Sussex Mind to get me started as a volunteer. I had some formal training on Charitylog, the system we use to record our interactions with people getting support with us. And I listened, observed and then dipped my toe in the various parts of the service. After five weeks, I started taking calls from service users.

I’ve had a very positive experience volunteering with West Sussex Mind. The team is lovely and it’s been great to be back in an office again working with a small team.

"I’ve had cracking support from the team at West Sussex Mind to get me started as a volunteer"

Maireadh


I was a police community support officer in Shoreham for 12 years. I’m good at talking to people and I don’t shy away from difficult conversations. I’m quite resilient and robust around mental health. And I like helping people; helping people is just part of who I am. I will say yes, if I can say yes; I won’t find reasons to say no.

I volunteer with no expectations of getting anything in return. For me, it is important to be part of the help that offers comfort and support to people struggling with their mental health. I get gratification from being part of the team, from being part of something bigger.

I would definitely recommend other people to volunteer with West Sussex Mind. If we all did something for someone else, the world would tick along much better generally. But you have to be reliable and consistent – those are key qualities you need to be a volunteer.