Volunteering Changes Lives

Volunteering Changes Lives is a film created to celebrate 30 years’ work by Volunteer Edinburgh’s Health and Wellbeing Team. It is an inspiring and powerful account of the life-changing impact of volunteering.

Seven individuals describe how volunteering has supported their journey of recovery by telling their stories and sharing their experiences of how volunteering has changed their lives. They talk of how they have overcome the barriers and discrimination which accompany mental illness and disability. In addition it celebrates the valuable contribution volunteers make to the social fabric and wellbeing of the city.

We hope the film encourages people to have hope, aspiration and expectations of themselves and to see themselves as someone who can be a “helper” rather than always being “helped”. We also hope that by sharing these positive experiences our film changes public understanding and attitudes, and thus helps to tackle stigma associated with mental ill-health.

We are grateful to film maker Mariola Garcia for her commitment and endless patience in working with us on this project and to NHS Lothian’s Strategic Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme for their financial support. To quote Mariola:

“I was born in Madrid in 1987. When I was 18 I started to study Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at Carlos III University. My motivation was always to tell stories through writing and pictures. I came to Edinburgh in 2013 for a month to improve my English and ended up staying for over a year! The thing that made me stay was the voluntary work I did with different organisations in the city. I met great people; my volunteering helped me improve my English but also let me use my film making skills and helped me develop a whole range of other skills.”