“I started volunteering for Newport Mind in 2019. At the time I was studying my undergraduate degree in psychology, so I wanted to gain additional experience to develop my personal and professional skills. I was also interested in people’s wellbeing and mental health from a young age, so when I heard that you could volunteer for Newport Mind I was really excited to get involved.
At Newport Mind I had the opportunity to get involved in so many projects. There was always something for everyone, from fundraising, to creating social media posts, creating a podcast, peer support, delivering training to professionals, and pizza day on Thursdays! Although I got involved in most of these, I enjoyed the young person’s committee the most because it allowed me to voice my opinion as a volunteer to create positive change across the organisation.
Along the way I met so many incredible people and made really good friends with other volunteers and staff members. Everyone was extremely welcoming and supportive of one another. It was definitely a safe space for me and other volunteers to explore our ideas, get creative and make positive change for other young people in Newport.
As a result of the experience I gained as a volunteer, I now get to work for Newport Mind on the Systems Change Project, which is attempting to promote community resilience for young people, primarily young males from BAME, LGBTQ+ and other deprived communities. It is ironic because the project I am working on is looking to recruit volunteers to place in communities across Newport, so it feels like a full circle moment for me. I started as a volunteer, I became an employee, and now I get to recruit more volunteers who will go onto make positive change for other young people!
In terms of advice from a past volunteer to another, I would say do not be afraid to express your opinion. Volunteers have some of the best ideas and even now I go to them when I need advice for the Systems Change Project.” – Joao Lopes