When I tell people that I work as a Volunteer at Designs in Mind usually followed by an explanation of what the organisation is about I am often told “Oh aren’t you good”. Well no I am not really I reply. I think they hear the word volunteer and mental health with little understanding what it is all about. I often have to expand further as a brief explanation does always suffice on what a unique place Designs in Mind is.I gain a lot from being a volunteer
I can honestly say I am not being “good” because over the years I have worked at Designs in Mind what I may have given in terms of my time and energy skills etc. I have got back so much in terms of increasing my creative skills and knowledge, confidence, self-development and of course, last but not least, all the friendships I have gained.
Time flies when you’re having fun
Time has gone fast since I started volunteering here nearly 6 years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun! I so much wanted to reignite my creative spark after many years working in a public sector environment that gave very little scope for creativity. So when I discovered Designs in Mind or (The Project Group as it was known then) via a work project, I realised very quickly I had found a gem of a place; to coin a phrase that I have used in the past; “a jewel in little market town”. This was because from the first day I walked in to the studio I thought wow!! I felt in some way I had come home to myself and soon after this first visit I had the opportunity to become a volunteer.
A place to embrace
It is indeed a place to embrace. It is an organisation, a social enterprise that embraces wholeheartedly creativity, originality and individuality. I do feel privilege to work alongside so many creative and talented people, whilst I have gained further insight about issues associated with mental health and how the stigma can affect people.
Work is so varied
Over the years my input and experience has been so varied and interesting. Apart from being involved in and supporting the creative work towards art commissions and retail products, other activities can involve; buying a pint of milk and …an essential daily item, selling raffle tickets at a Bulgarian evening, organising and setting up a retail stall for a community event and lots more including recently attending a blog workshop and learning to do my first blog!!
It would be interesting to know how other volunteers feel in other organisations. It’s no exaggeration to say that instead of being thankful for finding Designs in Mind I should say thank you Designs in Mind for helping me find some of me.