I started my volunteer journey at Inclusion after having a conversation about mindfulness and meditation with one of the existing volunteers. Having had a business career for many years and more recently with my interest in mindfulness and meditation, I felt that I could help people with a variety of life’s everyday challenges.

It has been a steep learning curve however I have benefited from on the job training. This includes covering open access, shadowing the duty worker in reception, various outreach tasks and more recently liaising with stakeholders. I have attended many training courses including Drug Awareness, Needle Exchange, Motivational Interviewing, Transactional Analysis, Safeguarding, NADA Auricular Acupuncture, Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Group Facilitation. I have enjoyed running groups, more than I thought I would as it is a totally new experience to me. There have been times where I have had to dig deep, having said that you do not progress in life without challenging yourself and this is when you find out more about yourself what you can do if given the opportunity.

One of the most enjoyable aspects to volunteering at Inclusion is meeting people from all walks of life and in talking to them you somehow ignite something already deep within them that slowly begins to flourish. They then find their way out of the darkness into the light.

They teach us as much as we teach them. We must never be complacent as life can change but if we take each day one day at a time then most obstacles can be overcome. From volunteering at Inclusion, we develop skills that are not just for substance abuse they are for life. I would recommend volunteering in general to anyone and especially within this progressive and inclusive environment.

If you would like to find out more about how you can volunteer with Inclusion Recovery Hampshire like Sue, please email us at inclusionvolunteering@mpft.nhs.uk