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This past week has been Volunteers Week and we asked one of our volunteers about his experience volunteering for Newport Mind!

“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

If like Joao you’re keen to get involved and see what doors volunteering could open for you follow this link to learn more!