2016 Community spirit.

These volunteers take an extraordinary interest in the success of a cause or project out in their community.

Lynda Roberts – Peer Support Group Leader for Changes Health & Wellbeing

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Depression. After initial treatment, I tried to manage my symptoms on my own and I became unwell again. My GP suggested I attend Changes Health and Wellbeing.

I attended their Wellbeing Programme, which was a structured training course of 8 sessions. The course discussed what Mental Health is all about and how their 12 Step Recovery Programme teaches you to challenge your own thoughts, feelings and behaviour to create an environment where you feel confident about your own recovery.

I also attended their Peer Support Groups where you have the opportunity to talk about the issues that are affecting you. The purpose of the group is to look at your situation and offer support and advice using examples from their own experience.

My turning point, and first step to recovery, occurred shortly after joining Changes Health & Wellbeing and I haven’t looked back since.

Once I started to feel better, I felt the need to give something back to Changes, encouraged by them I undertook the College Network Training Course and became a Peer Support Group Leader. I now run sessions and I enjoy seeing people overcome their problems, grow in confidence and take their own journey to recovery.

Chris Tudor – Abbeyfield Reigate

Abbeyfield Reigate started as a result of a bequest over 40 years ago. The sheltered home is now run today by a proactive group of trustees who work closely with the residents and the House Manager. The society’s aim has always been to offer sheltered housing for the elderly that supports old people but still allows them to live independently. The society has created a comfortable secure environment where residents feel totally at home and the staff and volunteers at Reigate always monitor that the house is properly maintained and promote activities to encourage resident participation.

This year I helped organised their summer fun day for Abbeyfield Reigate which consisted of a cake sales and a football tournament a rounders tournament between Abeyfield Reigate and Legal & General, It was a fantastic day and we raised £1,135.75.

I believe the best way to encourage others to get involved is to organise something that you know they will enjoy.

l have also recently become a volunteer for Epson Riding School for the disabled as a trustee/secretary.

Helen Robinson – Volunteers for Mountain Ash RFC Mini and Junior Section

Both my husband and I are big supporters of welsh rugby and we were thrilled when our son decided that he wanted to join the local rugby section. During the first few weeks of training it was noticed that the team did not have a full time coach or any first aid support and without these the team could not continue to run. As we did not want to see the children go without a team, my husband volunteered to become the coach and I volunteered as the first aid support.

This year I have been joint chair person for the setup and running of the mini and junior rugby festival, first aid support to the under 8s team and tour manager for the end of season tour. I also help the under 8s coaches with organising the team on match days, ensuring paperwork is completed for the match and by washing the rugby kit each week.

To be able to go on tour we have to raise funds so recently we took part in a sponsored walk with the under 8s walking 4 miles in total and paying respect at the cenotaph for Armistice day at the end. A day that was thoroughly enjoyable but would not have taken place if it wasn’t for the volunteers being able to support it.
In order to develop the children, volunteers are needed no matter how small a part you may play.

Rob Jones – Volunteers for Radio Glamorgan a Hospital Radio Service to University Hospital of Wales.

Hospitals are not the greatest places to be at any time, but particularly around Christmas. However, one of the way the tedium can be lifted is for the patients to listen to, and have a dedication on, their own radio station.

Having started in 1967, and not nearly into its 50th year, Radio Glamorgan is an award winning Hospital Radio Service broadcasting 24/7 to the patients and staff at the University Hospital of Wales.

I have been with them for the past 18 months and, as the station relies solely on fundraising to support it financially, this means that you can routinely see me undertaking bucket collections outside the local supermarkets, selling wristbands and manning stalls at local musical festivals.

I enjoy both the friendship and camaraderie that I have with the hospital staff and other presenters, as well as the satisfaction that comes from providing entertainment for the hospital in-patients. Indeed I believe the loud and raucous rock music that I play regularly on my show has persuaded more than one patient to go home early!

Hayley Rees – Volunteers for Step Together Mentoring

I wanted to use my skills and experience that I had built up through my working life to make a difference elsewhere. I first came involved with Step Together through an organisation called Pilot light that supports small charities through mentoring from the business community. This was a yearlong programme and we supported Step Together through a period of change. Following this I was asked to join the Board of Trustees.

I am now a Trustee and Treasurer for Step Together and I play an active role in reaching out to others to raise awareness of this fantastic charity that helps people most in need of support to transform their lives through volunteering. Most recently I have been involved in recruiting new Trustees and a Chair to the board, as well as agreeing to become Treasurer, which is a crucial role for any charity but especially such a small one that relies fully on donations and has a large outreach programme.

Being involved with Step Together has shown me how transferable and useful skills learnt in one environment can benefit another one.

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