Supported Volunteering & Employment 

Step Up is an innovative project that aims to support people with mental health issues to access, and sustain, 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 whilst recognising there can be all sorts of barriers towards finding a useful and supportive placement.

If you have had difficulties with mental health issues, 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 tailored, specialist 1:1 support from staff to find suitable volunteer and paid opportunities; peer support; wellbeing workshops and employment workshops.

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.

“Because I’d not been working for over two years, my confidence had gone to rock bottom. Through Step Up, I was reminded of all that things that I was capable of, which was the building block for helping me to remember what I have done and what I can do”.

“I have found my voice and can recognise my needs. My recovery has come so far as a result of Step Up”.

To find out more about the project and how to take part,

call the Step Up team on 020 7241 4443, ext 2003 or email

Getting Involved With Step Up



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

  • My low confidence was a big problem. Step Up has been like magic. I have been volunteering through Step Up for some time now and my confidence has improved considerably
    -Step Up Participant

  • Volunteering helped me make sense of my life when I felt isolated and lonely
    -Step Up Participant

  • It’s been really great to be able to speak with the same adviser. It means I have built up a relationship with my adviser, so it’s very valuable. I don’t need to explain my situation every time we speak; we can just pick up where we left off. You build up a strong relationship and feel like that person is really there for you
    -Step Up Participant

  • If I didn’t have the support of Step Up, I would feel lost.

    They help and guide me and give me confidence.

    They give me a push and make me feel like I can do things, which isn’t something I hear from other people
    -Step Up Participant


Step Up receives funding from the City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, through being a member of the City and Hackney Psychological Therapies and Wellbeing 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)