Newark’s number one mental health and wellbeing charity, The Shawmind Foundation, is calling for volunteers from the local community to give some time to support healthy minds in the town.
Shawmind launched its Breathe community programme in July 2019 and has already supported more than 1,000 local people, many of whom have been signposted to additional support services.
The charity relies on donations and the support of its volunteers to run the five weekly Breathe Café and Breathe Pop-up sessions which take place at LetsXcape Together in the Buttermarket, Newark College and the Turquoise Teapot on Bowbridge Road.
In a bid to support more people, Su Hallam, Charity Manager at Shawmind, is asking local businesses to dedicate some volunteer days and members of the community with some spare time, to come forward and join the thriving volunteer team.
Su Hallam said: “Our volunteers come from all walks of life, some have mental health and wellbeing experience already, but most simply have a passion for making a difference.
“Locally, I think there has been a real shift in people’s awareness of the need for mental health and wellbeing support and this is a great opportunity for people to have a positive impact in Newark and the surrounding areas.
“In exchange for their time, we provide all our volunteers with full training and ongoing support, so they are – in turn – able to support people within their communities.”
On Thursday 20th February, Su Hallam and some current volunteers will be at Shawmind, Millgate to host a volunteer open day (between 10am and 3pm), where members of the public are invited to come along, find out more and get signed up.
Businesses that are keen to dedicate some of their volunteer days to volunteering with Shawmind are invited to get in touch with Su and the team via firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in during the Open Day.
Amy, who has volunteered at the Breathe Café since it opened, said: “There is nothing else like Breathe available out there for people who feel they need some support.
“It’s a big step for them to come through the door to talk to us, but it’s a real privilege when you start to build that trust – it feels really good.
“People come to Breathe because it’s established a good reputation in the town and I keep coming back because I feel that I’m part of something special.”
The purpose of the Breathe Café and Breathe Pop-up sessions is to provide a safe space for active listening and referrals to other services in the local area.
A recent visitor to the Breathe Café said: “Today I’ve come to Breathe because I’ve received some official letters in the post and I’m feeling anxious about the contents.
“The team here have contacted the people in the letters and have explained how I’m feeling. We’ve agreed a plan so I can be supported during a visit, which has put my mind at ease.”
Volunteers with a current, valid DBS check and previous experience are preferred, but those with an interest in making a difference and some time to spare are also encouraged to sign up.
Full training will be provided and ongoing support available throughout. Out of pocket expenses will be paid.
People interested in volunteering some of their time are invited to pop into one of the current sessions to see what it’s all about. The weekly café and pop-up sessions take place at the following locations:
- LetsXcape Together in the Buttermarket – Monday to Wednesday 10am until 2pm
- Newark College – Thursday 10am until 1pm
- Turquoise Teapot on Bowbridge Road – Friday 9.30am until 11.30am