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Meet the Team ~ Volunteer Ruth

In this weeks blog we meet our volunteer Ruth, who has a heartwarming Designs in Mind journey to tell, this personal sharing shows how much mental health challenges touch us all during different stages of our lives.

To gather the timeline to thread this wonderful story together, I asked Ruth a few questions, the answers shape the story she wished to share, it maps the journey from challenges to successes so beautifully.

I hope it will inspire you to keep going, even in your lowest moments.

"My daughter is a member here at the Designs Studio and has been attending for 6 years.

I have previous experience of being a volunteer, as for 18 years I was in the Severn Hospice shop in Oswestry.

My daughter Lori, has been experiencing mental health challenges since she was 16, we were put in touch with Designs in Mind when she turned 19, as she has a keen interest in art and we thought it would help her.

My volunteer role here is as one of the shop assistants, however in the past I have attended the studio alongside my daughter, as at the time she needed my support.

It's great to see how Designs in Mind helped Lori to flourish and attend by herself as time progressed.

I very much enjoyed our in house training session as I now feel that I have gained further skills to help people if they come into the shop asking for support, concerning mental health challenges.

I also attended the Samaritans training which gave me more understanding of what people are challenged with, even though I have been through challenges myself and with family members"

As I write this story on Ruth's behalf, I feel it's important to mention how powerful this is, as this here at Designs we know how very differently, mental health challenges can present in each individual, so we are grateful to Samaritans for the training, highlighting these varied scenarios.

Ruth continued to share more deeply on her families personal journey, this goes on to show the diversity of challenges we all may face at different times in our lifes, how they manifest, how we find ways to cope and how we can eventually bounce back.

Perhaps you'll find that you can relate, maybe you've experienced similar in your life or you are currently dealing with stuff, maybe you need to hear these words to help you carry on through a challenging time.

I know while I've been writing this, I've been personally inspired by Ruth and Lori to keep going through my own challenging week!

Ruth went on to say "I've had various stages in my life to deal with, after both my daughters births I experienced Post Natal Depression.

I lost my father to pancreatic cancer, which was a big struggle for me. My husband had a nervous breakdown through stress.

Lori had a nervous breakdown at age 17, so I've been her support throughout those challenges. I continue to be of support now she is in her mid twenties.

Designs in Mind has helped in so many ways with her Anxiety and Depression, its really helped her confidence. When she first attended, she couldn't leave her seat to walk across the studio, due to feeling so overwhelmed.

Thanks to everyone's kindness, staff and members who all made Lori and myself feel so welcomed.

There has been so many highlights during Lori's time here.

One of Lori's designs for Scion has been turned into wallpaper and possibly soon to be bed linen.

It was a big thing for her to attend the Scion factory that day with other members of the team and such a wonderful achievement.

There is a bench in Oswestry library, as a tribute to Wilfred Owen, which she collaborated in painting with other Designs members.

Screenprints at the Gobowen Library were part of her work too.

Lori has also made ceramics and a quilt for Designs projects.

My other daughter also had challenges a couple of years ago, this has been her inspiration where she has now chosen to train to become a Mental Health Nurse".

Ruth had definitely highlighted to me, that these are the stories of success, that can and do happen.

This whole journey shows that through seeking support to manage challenges, we can all experience new found successes out the other side of mental health, so if your experiencing difficult and challenging times, do reach out to local services, keep going, remember it's OK to not be Okay, life can blossom after the hardest times as Ruth continues to show us through sharing this story.

I was curious how Ruth feels about her volunteer role in our shop, how it may be helping her, as she is supporting family members, it's important that she has something to fill her cup up too.

Ruth said "I feel volunteering is helping with my confidence, I had a year away from volunteer roles and I really missed it.

I feel I'm giving back to Designs In Mind where they've given so much to my daughter, as what she has achieved here we as her parents find it's been unbelievable!

We are so very proud of her.

With all of this help and support inside of the studio, her personal achievements outside of the studio have flourished too.

Lori now drives her own car, this is a great step as previously she would not go out of the house anywhere on her own.

She has gained a job in a florists since March 2022. Designs Team Artist and Studio Lead Bridie, supported her at that time and helped her with the interview.

We cannot put into words or thank Designs in Mind enough for what they have achieved with our daughter, she would not be the lovely person today, that she always was underneath all her mental health challenges.

So if I can give back by volunteering, I am proud to do so".

We are pleased and proud to have Ruth as part of our volunteering team, thank you Ruth for sharing deeply about your families story.

It's truly inspirational and shows others how, with help and support, there is always hope for improving life and flourishing no matter what life has thrown our way.

We are also proud of Lori, her massive progression and achievements since being a member here at Designs.

We hope you, our readers, are too, encouraged by these words.

If you need to reach out due to your own challenges here are some numbers

If your looking for a creative outlet to help you to face your mental health challenges then you can refer to Designs in Mind, in person at 17/17a Cross Street Oswestry SY11 2NF

Telephone 01691 655 140


Blog Written & researched by Willow, Member & Social Media Coordinator

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