Supported Volunteering & Employment 

Step Up is an innovative project that supports people with mental health problems to access volunteering as part of their mental health recovery and personal journey towards employment. At VCH we believe that volunteering has many benefits to mental, emotional and social wellbeing. However there can be all sorts of barriers towards finding a useful and supportive placement.

If you have had difficulties with mental health problems then you may feel unsure of how other people are going to treat you, you might be feeling low in confidence and self-esteem, or you might want to get a job but be really rusty in your work-based skills and experience.

We use a range of different strategies to support people to move on with their lives, including workshops and group sessions, personal mentors to give more in-depth support, employability workshops as well as 1:1 support from an employment advisor to help people find and sustain a paid job.

We also organise group volunteering sessions and encourage and support everyone involved with Step Up to share their skills. Our participants have organised their own walks, fitness sessions, gardening projects and art workshops and we welcome suggestions for future events. 

All our volunteer mentors receive training in Mental Health Awareness, Mentoring and Coaching. Ongoing support is offered through monthly Mentor Forums and staff are always on hand to offer their advice and share their knowledge.

To find out more about the project and how to take part,
call the Step Up team on 020 7241 4443, ext 203 or email

Getting Involved With Step Up


Our mentor role has had a revamp! Read more about the new role and sign up here. Our next training session is on Friday 23 March.


To find out more about the project and how to take part, call the Step Up Team on 020 7241 4443, ext 203 or email


To refer someone to the Step Up project please complete the referral form linked here and email it to the team.

We’ve had many success stories. Read about one of them here:
  • Thank you once again for this great opportunity that you have put me forward for, to improve the quality of my life
    -Step Up Participant

  • I am really delighted to tell you how much I have got my life on track once again
    -Step Up Participant

  • Being part of the Step Up programme has been a great help to me. My mentor has been a great support in helping me find a volunteer role that is right for me
    -Step Up Participant

  • I feel a lot more confident about my ability to take charge of my future and managing change. I am not feeling depressed or low any more
    -Step Up Participant


Step Up receives funding from Big Lottery as well as from City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, through being a member of City and Hackney Psychological Therapies Alliance.


We work in partnership with City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, local GPs’, Homerton Hospital, St Leonards’ Hospital, psychologists, occupational therapists, City and Hackney Psychological Therapies Alliance, Peter Bedford Housing Association and many others.

The Step Up team does an amazing job, not just with helping clients into volunteering but with work, education and mentoring. It’s an outstanding well rounded service.      – (East London Foundation Trust)