SCOTTISH charity, Health in Mind, has been awarded the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) accreditation for the second time for its commitment to the volunteers who make a considerable contribution to the organisation.
Says a spokesperson: “The first award in 2010 was for services delivered in Edinburgh City with the second accreditation awarded for services delivered in Edinburgh, Lothian, Scottish Borders and a unique Scotland-wide telephone counselling service.
“Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management and in Scotland, it is managed by Volunteer Development Scotland.”
Receiving the award on behalf of Health in Mind, chief executive, Gwenn McCreath, said that she believed the organisation’s success lay in having created a two-way exchange.
“When someone offers us their time, experience and skills we, in return, offer them the opportunity to participate in quality training, learn new skills, build up their confidence and meet new people.
“We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, including people with lived experience of mental health issues themselves or those who’ve supported someone who has.”
At the time of the assessment, Health in Mind benefitted from the efforts of a 163 volunteers. The VDS Assessor met with a core sample of volunteers and staff at the charity’s operational sites over five days in July of this year.
George Thomson, chief executive of Volunteer Development Scotland, presented the award and commenting on his Assessor’s report he said he found it inspiring.
“We found that Health in Mind placed investing in their volunteers high on their operational agenda,” said George.
“The organisation provides a very high standard of training which is open to staff and volunteers with each gaining a valuable insight into the other’s experiences.
“My assessor heard about volunteers attending various courses such as the Scottish Government’s Mental Health First Aid course; suicide prevention; Parkinson’s awareness; laughter therapy and panic and anxiety workshops.”
The report highlights how one volunteer befriender informed staff that the person they were matched with was epileptic. The volunteer was enrolled on a specific training course to ensure they were able to help if their match had a seizure.
George continued: “Another volunteer commented they had been given opportunities to represent ‘people like me’ with lived experiences of mental health, at a strategic decision-making level by being invited to participate in a local forum which helped shape how council services are funded and developed.
“Another told of the praise they had received directly from management and how it had made them feel valued for the first time in their life; it had helped them recognise they had skills and could, in time, make a career in this field and move into paid employment.”
There are ten main roles across all Health in Mind sites and these include administration, befriending, buddy, café assistant, peer supporter, group leader, information assistant, web assistant, craft volunteers and fundraising volunteers.
Gwenn McCreath concluded: “As an organisation, Health in Mind is committed to our volunteering programme and although funding and resourcing is challenging, our service plans include budgets allocated for volunteer training and expenses.
“A volunteer was reported as saying that volunteering had opened the door to new opportunities for them but crucially, I must add that the time they give helps us to open new doors for our service users.”
For further information contact Doreen Graham, Health in Mind Communications Manager on 0131 243 0137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes for editors:
Heath in Mind (previously known as the Edinburgh Association for Mental Health) was set up in 1982 to take over flats then rented for ex-patients by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
Current services include:
- Support, Accommodation and Respite Care which provides personal, emotional and practical support to enable people experiencing long-term mental health difficulties to stay in their home and respite for their carers.
- Two befriending projects: Re:discover for under 65s with mental health difficulties and Community Connecting which supports people over 65 to find out what services, activities and groups are available in the local area.
- Orchard Centre Services in Bonnyrigg delivers a preventative, community based recovery focused model of support and care throughout Midlothian. Specialist services offered include: CLEAR: Community Lived Experience for Alcohol & Drugs Recovery, a peer support programme involving volunteers who have previously experienced drug/alcohol misuse; and the SHARE Project: Suicide, Harm, Awareness, Recovery & Empathy, for men aged 25-50 years, with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
- Equal Access is dedicated specifically to providing support for men and women from black & minority ethnic (BME) communities, who are experiencing feelings of stress or isolation and are unable to access information about the services available.
- A trauma counselling service includes specialist counseling for adult survivors (over 16 years) of childhood sexual abuse, and the Trauma Counseling Line Scotland (TCLS) provides free, confidential telephone counselling for adult survivors of childhood abuse who are living in Scotland. They also run Craigmillar Counselling Service which provides short term counselling for adults who are living in Craigmillar and feel in need of emotional support.
- Access to information on mental health and wellbeing online is provided, over the phone or in person, at their Information Resource Centre.
- In the last decade Health in Mind has devised and delivered training to many organisations including NHS Health Scotland, The Scottish Recovery Network, Edinburgh City Council and Lothian and Borders Police.
The organisation achieved IiV status for their Edinburgh city services in 2010; the recent assessment covered the whole organisation.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK award with a unique focus on volunteering, managed by Volunteer Development Scotland (VDS).
Achieving IiV gives organisations the opportunity to improve and develop practice and recognises commitment to high quality volunteer management. An advisor/assessor is assigned to each organisation to offer support and provide guidance through the process.
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