We had a great volunteer training session on Wednesday this week (first of five so still time to join in with us) that was very much volunteers sharing their skills and knowledge of good practice. We are very lucky to have such a diverse mix of people with different skill sets that they can share to help everyone who volunteers do the best they can to support those that need it.
S2c is a bit of an odd place to volunteer in a way. it is not as clear cut as other organisations really as it is very difficult to assign set roles. I am guilty sometimes of not really explaining well how it works! For a start with some people being a volunteer is as much a part of their recovery or need for support as it is any of the service users. Some people volunteer because they want to help others and are in a position to give time. Some people volunteer because they are lonely and feeling isolated. Some people volunteer because they are on a road to recovering from some kind of illness and it is a step in that recovery to help them move forward. Some people volunteer to help develop skills with a view to gaining experience before heading to further education or indeed seeking a job in a related profession. Some people volunteer to say thank you for helping them by giving their time in return. Sometimes a person will volunteer because they don’t feel they want to be a service user but want to be part of the mutual support and ethos we have.
People volunteer with us for many reasons, all perfectly good reasons and we benefit. We also hope very much that our volunteers benefit too in some way. S2C is very much a community in that everyone from the person in charge, the volunteers and the service users all share responsibility for the organisation. If a job needs doing then somebody will do it without needing a label. The floor needs mopping, an exhibition needs hanging, toilets need cleaning, store room needs tidying, a form needs filling in, a risk assessment needs to be done then one of us will do it. If somebody does not know how to do a job then someone who does will show them the first time.
The art sessions are one group working together and sometimes it is difficult to tell volunteers apart from service users. Perfect. In that setting with everyone sharing, helping and supporting each other, then it gives individuals the confidence to grow from a very low place or from somewhere a bit more settled. We all take responsibility for each other and the putting away, making drinks and cleaning up.
Clearly that happens with the safeguards in place. There is a structure there for more support, reporting, handling confidential situations and referring on to other agencies if needed. With everyone involved, everyone has ownership of S2C to contribute as much as they feel they can which makes the space a very healing, friendly and accessible one for those who are struggling or feeling vulnerable.
In August we are planning a “Summer Exhibition” with contributions from everyone who is involved with S2C in any way. We want to celebrate the S2C community and all the good work that goes on from all the service users, volunteers, partners, supporters, funders, groups hiring rooms, artists and individuals who have some involvement with S2C.
This weeks selection of artwork: