I live in Edinburgh and I love being involved in organisations which focus on promoting disability inclusion and equality in all areas of life.
For Marion West, a volunteer at Health in Mind’s Information Resource Centre and Rediscover Befriending Service, volunteering has been a “life-changing” experience. “I had been out of work for quite a long time with mental ill health and my occupational therapist (OT) suggested that volunteering would be a great way to re-integrate me in to society.
“Volunteering has opened up a whole new way of life for me. It has given me a stronger sense of identity, of belonging in my community, a sense of worth and a sense of pride in what I have accomplished.”
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.
“Our key feature on page 6 focuses on volunteering as a route into employment. This comes at a time when Volunteer Edinburgh are celebrating the ten year anniversary of the start of their employability programme.”
In 2005 a young graphics student was referred to Volunteer Edinburgh by his occupational therapist. He was incredibly anxious and paranoid. They thought volunteering might help build his confidence but he could only manage to be in the office for 15 minutes at most and couldn’t look us in the eye. 14 years later that same volunteer created a graphic illustration of his volunteering journey.