4 minute read
I started volunteering for BDP at the start of March 2021, having moved to Bristol in November. Before this, I studied Human Geography at the University of Leeds and completed a Master’s in Educational Psychology at the University of York.
I have always loved working with people and helping others, so when I moved to Bristol I was keen to gain experience in this sector. I was impressed with the support offered by BDP and its excellent reputation across Bristol (every one I have spoken to about the charity has nothing but praise). I work part-time in a secondary school, supporting students with learning and mental health difficulties, and volunteer for BDP on Tuesday afternoons which works around my other commitments.
My experience at BDP so far has been really positive. Deb and Jasmine (BDP’s volunteer managers) welcomed us with open arms and facilitated some fantastic training. Our sessions started at the end of February during the peak of the national lockdown, so we all really appreciated having some in-person training and an opportunity to meet each other before continuing on Zoom. The training was so interesting, and it was clear how much effort Deb and Jasmine had put into the sessions to make them engaging and valuable. Whatever question came their way, they were able to answer it with brilliant insight. I was impressed at how in-depth the training was and I am excited to keep learning more throughout my time at BDP!
Since then, I have mainly been working on the helpline. Having watched Deb on this for my first two shifts, I was very apprehensive about flying solo. It seemed like all sorts of calls could come through and it is quite a large field to navigate with all of the different support that’s available across the city. However, my helpline shifts have gone much better than expected, most of the callers have been really appreciative for the support and others in the office have been very helpful during the more challenging calls. I am definitely building confidence on the helpline and learning more each time.
Aside from this, I have also shadowed a couple of triages with Sorcha and Jack, and I have been pleasantly surprised at how thorough they are. It has been an insight into how initial assessments are carried out, as I am interested in pursuing a psychology/mental health-related career in the future. More recently, I also attended the Wet Clinic with Jack, Rosa and a couple of other volunteers. I had never heard of this service before the training and I didn’t know what to expect, but I was really impressed at how welcoming the space was. It’s so important that people can seek medical (or other) support whilst having the option to drink alcohol. All of the professionals there were so lovely and helpful to both the service users and us as volunteers.
I feel like I have learnt so much already, I’m so pleased with how much fantastic training I have had with the charity so far and all of the great people that I have been able to meet, even in the midst of a pandemic. I am currently making my way through the Needle Exchange training, and in the past couple of weeks, I attended a session on Breaking Free Online and Psychedelic First Aid Training. I’m keen to get involved in as much as possible in the near future and I look forward to meeting everyone at the social in August! 😊
4 minute read
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