Anna, 19, a psychology student from Leeds joined Making Space as a volunteer Befriender at our Leeds Befriending Team in January 2017.
Our Leeds Befriending service is designed for adults in Leeds who are experiencing mental health distress. A befriender works with adults in the programme to reduce isolation, improve confidence and motivation and support them in getting out and about in the community.
Here’s Anna’s volunteer story:
Anna began volunteering with Making Space as she wanted gain additional hands on experience of working with people with mental health conditions and gain a better understanding of how mental health affects people day-to-day. Anna sent in her application form and then met a member of our team for an informal chat, and to find out more about the service and how it all worked.
After having a DBS check, the Leeds Befriending Scheme matched Anna with one of the people who uses the service. Our team supported Anna to learn about her new friend’s interests and helped the duo to take their first steps in enjoying a range of social and leisure activities together.
Anna first meeting with her new friend was with a supervisor, they introduced themselves, exchanged numbers and began meeting every week. Anna started small by going for coffees and food with her new friend, but then as she learnt more about her friend she began doing other things including the cinema, bowling and yoga classes.
Anna says “I look forward to meeting her every week, and enjoy the variety of activities I get to do – I had never done yoga before! Seeing her confidence improve tells me I’m doing a good job and making a positive difference to her life.”
After volunteering with us Anna was offered a placement as a student intern for a year. She now meets five women weekly as well as taking on more of a coordinators role. This has given her greater insight into mental health and the variety of different services that support people, which provides greater insight for her studies.
“Volunteering with Making Space has been a great opportunity, I have learnt so much, while truly enjoying it and becoming part of the befriending team in Leeds.”