Kait F - Volunteer
“I had always wanted to work with people, but due to the challenges I had faced I never thought I would be able to. I felt like I had ruined any chance of being able to be a professional in the health and social care sector.
Due to volunteering with Cambridgeshire Recovery Service I was able to apply for a role as a peer support worker in mental health, a role I never thought I would get… but I did”.
Throughout my life I have been a service user in many different contexts. For a huge portion of my time on Earth, I was a patient for mental health services, and a client of substance misuse services. I had always wanted to work with people, but due to the challenges I had faced I never thought I would be able to. I felt like I had ruined any chance of being able to be a professional in the health and social care sector. After taking some time to heal and figure out who I was once discharged from these services, I decided to give volunteering a go. I saw it as a way to figure out if I could transition from being a ‘patient’ to a ‘professional’, which was when I stumbled on the Cambridgeshire Recovery Service.
After meeting Bex from Cambridgeshire Recovery Service, I quickly started on the volunteer training, and then I was away to go!
My experience with Cambridgeshire Recovery Service has been one that is difficult to describe in words. People have said that when I started volunteering, I was a ‘mouse’. I didn’t have much confidence and wasn’t sure where I really fit. By the end of my journey volunteering, I feel as though I have truly come out of my shell. Everyone in the team was incredibly warm and open, I always felt like I had someone to ask questions too. I feel like everyone created a really safe space that allowed me to grow as a professional - which I didn’t even know was possible!
I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to try different aspects of the service, such as helping run groups, having my own caseload, and running a music group. It helped me realize my own areas of strength/limitation, and what I enjoy doing!
Something I have really enjoyed is the team always wanted to hear my opinion on things, and I felt that my thoughts about certain subjects were definitely valued. This helped me find my voice in meetings, and built my confidence.
Due to volunteering with Cambridgeshire Recovery Service I was able to apply for a paid role at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust as a peer support worker in mental health, a role I never thought I would get… but I did. I believe that if it wasn’t for having volunteered here, I never would have applied, let alone have the skills I would need to be successful at interview. This team has helped me blossom into a person that I am proud off, I feel I am constantly growing and evolving in this field, and they helped me get on this track in the first place.