Robyn Andrews is our fundraising campaign manager in the UK office. In this blog post, she tells us about her experience taking part in the Humanstate Heroes initiative, under which employees can take a day off every month to volunteer for a charity as a way to give back to the community.
What did you do for ‘your’ charity?
I regularly volunteer for West Kent Mind as part of the Humanstate Heroes programme, which gives all our employees one paid weekday every month to help a charity, over and above our normal leave allocation.
There are many activities that a volunteer can get involved with at West Kent Mind, including arts clubs and music groups. I currently help out with the Living Well group, teaching basic life skills such as healthy eating to those who are struggling with mental health issues.
On a typical afternoon of volunteering, I head over to the charity’s well-being centre in Tonbridge and am greeted by friendly faces. We cook a healthy lunch, which we all enjoy together before chatting about everyday life, occasionally followed by a short stroll.
Why do you do it and why for this charity?
I chose them because one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. However, stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching those who need help.
I enjoy the variety of activities to get involved with and like working to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. If you have mental health problems you can often become isolated, but these activities at the centres or out in the community really do make a difference.
What did you gain?
The benefits of volunteering are twofold – the charity gets the benefit of your time and skills, and you benefit from their experience and expertise, plus you have the reward of being able to put something of value back into the community. I find it incredibly rewarding being able to help those in need – it helps me to put my struggles into perspective whilst reminding me that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s also a great reminder of why I love working at GivenGain!
Any advice for others wanting to get involved?
Do it! Think of an area which you are passionate about or what skills you have to offer (even if it’s simply being a good listener or offering an extra pair of hands) and then find a charity you’d like to get involved with. Start by searching their website for volunteering opportunities or get in touch with them. There may be a little bit of legwork at the beginning but I promise it’s worth it!
Robyn joined GivenGain, a Humanstate company, in November 2018 after graduating with a BA in Business Management and Psychology from the University of Winchester. Her volunteering activities started in 2010 at a care home for the elderly and she still finds the time to make the most of volunteering schemes within GivenGain to help some of the causes she cares about.