Volunteering work may assist those with mental health disorders
Forward by William Smith
Whilst many people who suffer from mental health disorders struggle to gain employment, they may find that their spare time could be well spent by doing volunteering work.
This kind of opportunity can lead to a change in career path and open the door to work opportunity.
The press release below could open the door to volunteering opportunities which may well suit many individuals who feel that volunteering commitment would suit them.
Minister gives kick-start to volunteering at launch of vision and fund
Press release from Department of Health
A new vision for volunteering in health and social care will be unveiled this week by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow in Birmingham.
Volunteers play a crucial role in health and social care services, and to support this Paul Burstow will announce that up to £2.6 million will be available for national volunteering and social action projects in 2012. Fifty-one local projects will be approved today, with a combined value of approximately £2.5 million.
The funding is given to projects that meet one of four key themes: improving health and social care; delivering better health outcomes; improving public health; and a patient-led NHS.
Paul Burstow said:
“Volunteers can be great asset in promoting and improving health. The funding I have announced will mean more projects can get volunteers involved in providing real support that will help local communities and give the volunteers invaluable experience and skills.
“Our vision is to encourage leaders and commissioners to be more open and inclusive and to create an environment where the experience of volunteers counts. I want to help NHS and social care organisations – whether social enterprises, private, charity or public sector – to realise the benefits of volunteering and make the most of the opportunities it provides.”
To make sure that small local organisations that have received funding through the programme get the most out of it, the Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund offers a support package through nationally recognised voluntary, community and social enterprises organisations. This includes a diagnostic visit, support consultancy, action learning networks and training in volunteer management.
National organisations can register to apply, from next week, for up to £200,000 a year for up to three years each to run projects from Summer 2012 that align with one of the four key themes.
Diabetes UK - Community Champions Volunteer Programme
The project has 5 main aims focusing on avoiding preventable cases by improving awareness of diabetes, lifestyle risk factors and supporting the adoption of healthier lifestyles. The project focuses on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, and will improve the information flow through local networks.
The Place2Be - Developing Active Community-based Volunteering
The project aim is to empower local leadership to reduce health inequalities by improving access to non-stigmatising school-based mental health support and improve the mental health of children/young people through an innovative volunteer-led approach.
British Refugee Council - Health Befriending Network for Refugees and Asylum
The aims of the project are to use a volunteer befriending network to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers understand their entitlements to health and social care services. Refugees and asylum seekers experience less isolation and are better connected to their local communities, improving general health and wellbeing.
Examples of other volunteering programmes sighted in the Strategic Vision:
Dawn Patrol -
Dawn Patrol is an intergenerational project, run by the British Red Cross, in Newton. It supports independence and resilience for vulnerable older people who live alone by building links with local schools. Young volunteers (typically 8-11 years old) check on the older beneficiaries on their way to school. If the right number is not shown, the school contacts the British Red Cross who take action, starting with an unobtrusive telephone call and triggering a response if necessary.
Altogether Better – Community Health Champions -
Altogether Better has trained over 12,500 volunteer community and workplace champions who have in turn influenced the health and wellbeing of 75,000 further people within their communities. They use a community development approach to the recruitment and engagement of volunteers, building on existing networks, infrastructure and local expertise using a targeted approach to reach excluded groups. Different level of training are offered to meet different needs, from half-day sessions to accredited courses