Building on Strengths – Cora at Patchway Filton and the Stokes

Cora was encouraged to approach the volunteer centre to see if they had any administration roles to help boost her confidence to help return to work. She was receiving family support through Southern Brooks Community Partnerships and her worker had suggested volunteering could be a useful way of keeping her skills up to date and provide her with a focus. She is a single parent, with ADHD and anxiety, and had been experiencing various challenges around family life. Her aim was to be back in work but felt that her mental health was holding her back as she felt unable to regularly commit to a job.

The volunteer centre had an administration role available to support its work. She knew that she found it hard to regularly attend a weekly volunteer role, so it was agreed that her attendance could be flexible and determined on a weekly basis according to how she felt that day. The role was tailored to utilise her previous work skills in call centres and administration. There wasn’t a deadline for these tasks because it was an ongoing project so intermittent attendance didn’t affect the work.  The tasks included calling organisations to update their details and inform them about volunteer centre services. This developed as she became interested in other administration tasks which she gradually became involved with.

Due to Cora’s isolation she didn’t have many people to talk to during the week so wanted the volunteer role to increase her contact with other adults. The volunteer centre team supported her to have conversations about her life in a structured and supported way during coffee breaks. Through providing feedback on her performance in the role the team helped her to increase her awareness to develop a more professional working manner.

Cora had a supportive and empathetic experience of volunteering, where she was treated as a colleague and supported to achieve as much as she could. Through conversations with the team she developed new coping strategies with her ADHD and anxiety for example writing down the thoughts and feelings she’d like to discuss during the break time.

This volunteer role provided some regular structure for 6 months and a supportive environment to use as a stepping stone to move back into work.

Want to Volunteer in Patchway Filton and the Stokes? Find your local Volunteer Centre here.