Meet Richard – Step Up’s Manager
Hi, I’m Richard, and I manage Volunteer Centre Hackney’s Step Up service. Step Up is a unique service which supports people experiencing mental health problems. It focuses on volunteering as a key part of the journey towards improved mental health and employability.
There has been a 20-25% increase in need for mental health care after the pandemic. For many people, poor mental health can be a real barrier to work, and not working can make existing mental health conditions worsen.
Day-to-day, I love seeing the significant positive impact volunteering can have on people experiencing mental health problems. This month, we’ve had several Step Up members starting employment and volunteering.
Gary is one of our Step Up members who first came to us for support with his mental health. Now he’s able to give back to the community by running mindfulness classes in GP surgeries through VCH’s Together Better service. He said: ‘Volunteering has built my confidence, reduced my isolation and depression.’
Step Up members inspire me – they have such a strong desire to help others. Lots of the people we work with have overcome significant mental health challenges and use what they have learnt to help other people in their community. They turn the negative of experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental health issues into something positive, which motivates them to help others. Seeing that first hand is truly inspiring.