Sarah Jane: Finding New Confidence And Skills

My first interview

I was working on my recovery when I came across the Simon Community. They were doing interviews for a training programme for volunteers. I was unsure whether or not I was ready to try this because I had never been for an interview before. I realised that only by pushing through my uncertainty would I make further progress.

Learning new things

I worried for nothing! The process was quite informal, helpful and very supportive. The 12 week training programme covered what would be expected of you as a volunteer and also what you could expect from the Simon Community as a volunteer. The subjects included: Child Protection, Adult Support & Protection, SafeTalk, Confidentiality, Boundaries, Challenging Behaviours, and Roles and Responsibilities.

Through the programme I started volunteering in the Hub. This really improved my confidence and self esteem. I went out with the Street Team and saw another side of the work they do.

Experience helps!

In my time recovering in Phoenix and also as a volunteer one thing stands out above all else: people will share their worries and hopes with others who have had a similar experience either in addiction, mental health, homelessness or having come through the Care System.

As part of my volunteering, I was approached by Glenda and Ashley to help with a piece of research around Self Directed Support. I was given the task of talking to service users who had been or still were homeless. This went really well because they could relate to the fact that I am going through the process of being homeless myself.

Taking on new challenges

Through the support and confidence gained as a volunteer for the Simon Community, I put myself forward to be part of a recovery group for the North East. I was able to use my knowledge, skills and experience to benefit this new initiative. In January 2014 North East Recovery Communities (NERC) was established and I became a Committee member for the very first time.