Volunteer Wellbeing

Our volunteers are at the heart of what we do and right now it's a confusing and stressful time due to the pandemic- we've put together some ideas of what we can do to help and where to go for support during these uncertain times.

Mental Health Matters- Taking care of ourselves and each other

The past few months have been extremely challenging. We all have our own individual experiences and will vary greatly in how we are feeling at any one time, as too will the experiences that we have had. We wanted to make sure we are talking about mental health and wellbeing, as it is so important, particularly at this time. We know that volunteering and being outdoors can have a positive impact on our wellbeing through; exercising, socialising, and taking part in a worthy cause, all these things make us feel good. However, we want to recognise that for some of our volunteers, it has just not been possible for them to participate in their normal role and as restrictions get tighter, feelings of isolation and negativity can easily slip in.

Naturally, the NHS and your GP can provide advice and information about support available in specific areas and circumstances. For our volunteers we have some support at the Trust and can also signpost volunteers to other services to find out more about where they could access support with their wellbeing if they would like to.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has a team of Mental Health First Aiders who can be a source of support for our volunteers. The role of our mental health first-aiders is to be a first point of contact for our voluntary trainees, volunteers and employees who are experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. Our mental health first-aiders are available for an informal and confidential chat if volunteers need to reach out to someone. They can also point them in the right direction to seek external professional support. In addition, the mental health first-aiders champion raising awareness of mental health in our workplace and feed into promoting positive wellbeing initiatives. While they are not mental health professionals, they have received mental health first-aid training through Mind.

York (Central)

Spurn (East)

Stirley (West)

Potteric (South)

Skipton (North)

Out Posted (Various)

Bernie Higgins

Jon Easby

Alec Boyd

Katie Baker

Graham Standring

Kevin Ward

Clea Grady

Rob Young

Karen McDiarmid

Abigail Gibbons

Rosie Snowden

 

Mike Hewitt

 

 

Joanna Haywood

Jenny Sharman

 

Jennifer Few

 

 

 

Lyndon Marquis

 

 

It can be challenging to ask for help, and everyone will have their own preferences so we can't recommend particular services specifically, but we’d like to share ideas about services that allow people to get help in a variety of ways, using a method that they feel most comfortable. Here are just some of the organisations available, from the NHS website:

NHS Every Mind Matters
Mind
Samaritans
Papyrus (under 35's)
Young Minds

Getting outdoors and spending time in nature has become more popular due to COVID-19. In a recent people and nature survey, led by Natural England, they found that there is a sustained month-on-month increase since April (June 65%, May 60% and April 49%) of people accessing green spaces and outdoors. If you cannot volunteer at the moment or if you are feeling low- take some time to go outside, even if it’s just a short walk it will definitely have a positive impact for your general wellbeing. 

Stay safe, stay alert, stay wild and take time for self-care everyone.