The W.A.T.CH Project is always looking for new volunteers. We welcome people with any skills. If you are interested in getting involved with the project you can download more detailed information packs directed at volunteers below, and inquire by email here.
We have a variety of volunteers working with us at the moment and are always open to more friendly faces. Whether you have any specific idea of what you want to do to help, or whether you are just interested, please get in touch.
|Find the Chard W.A.T.CH Project on the SSVCA Voluntary Sector Support website.|
The Volunteer Experience
Richard Miller (General Volunteer)
I have been volunteering with Chard WATCH CIC for a year now and, in that time, have be heartened by the warm, caring and non-judgemental atmosphere in the Project.
As a result of members attending the Project, I have witnessed people grow in self-confidence and in their empathy and support for others. My day is made when I see vulnerable people lose themselves in activities or in shared laughter.
“The WATCH Project was the first door to open to me, after months of unsuccessful searching for some kind of a mental health placement. From the moment Julie answered the phone, I had a feeling of warmth, and a sense of being valued for my potential. I could tell she sensed I had something to offer and that this was going to be beneficial to us both. My role as arts coordinator was significant for me as it marked the coming together of my two professions, that of visual artist and psychotherapist in training.
The day I walked into the project, I had a feeling of belonging, which never left me. I found volunteers and members open, willing, and affectionate, sometimes sharing the difficulties of their lives now, often informed by the pain of childhood experiences. I started to see what a potent force the arts could be in the healing process, and how that didn’t have to involve words.
I am a passionate believer in the therapeutic value of walking, and the walks we did were memorable for their sense of togetherness, but since they required me to be in two places at once, they weren’t really viable. My hope is that members will be able to attend the same Walk Leader training as I did, so that one day, walking will be a regular activity on offer at the project.”
Kirsty (Volunteer Arts Facilitator)
“I became a volunteer back in October 2010, just before the W.A.T.CH Project started. From the beginning it was my role to design and deliver art based workshops. I feel blessed for having the freedom to design and develop my own creative arts workshops for W.A.T.CH. I have been able to develop my learning from my degree by putting my skills into practice at the W.A.T.CH Project.
The members have allowed me to use them as case studies and as forms of evaluation for my year 3 dissertation. They have all been truly supportive of me and I owe them great thanks.
As a volunteer I have been given the chance to liaise with a variety of networks such as MIND, Time to Change, Somerset Skills and Learning, plus more. Without my experience at W.A.T.CH, I very much doubt I would have landed myself a job with MIND on a new project as an Emotional Outreach Support Worker.”
“My entry into the W.A.T.CH Project was slightly more unorthodox than most; I actually began as a member in 2012 and left after six months when I felt I no longer needed it’s support (which is ironic when you consider what happens next). When looking for something productive to do a year later, I sent Julie (the Project Manager) an email and asked if I was welcome back as a volunteer.
Having experienced first-hand how effective, helpful and understanding the community was in my own recovery, I was eager to give something back and was delighted when she said yes.
Since joining, my friends, family, and mental health professionals (who once counselled me) have commented on how much I’ve changed for the better; apparently, I’m far more confident and harder to miss now. I believe this is because the Project has given me a purpose – on top of practical skills – and I am forever grateful for that.
The Project has also helped me discover a real interest in mental health that I didn’t have before, and I’m hoping to apply any lessons learnt there to work outside in the same field. With no two days the same and a wealth of interesting characters to meet, I’m hardly short on experience!”
“I had many roles as a volunteer at The WATCH Project ranging from making teas and coffees at the project to providing support to members regarding local organisations and other projects. On a Thursday I would enjoy talking and getting to know the members as well as taking part in activities and training sessions alongside them.
At my time at the project I learned a lot. I learned more about facilitation, active listening and effective communication which worked well alongside my studies in Health and Social Care. As a volunteer I had the opportunity to undertake training sessions in Diversity, First Aid and Facilitation. As well as learning new skills with watch I also learned a lot about myself, I realised that I am a good listener when needed and that I am more confident than I thought. This is due to attending meetings and giving presentations on behalf of the project.
There are always going to be challenges when volunteering with vulnerable people however I dealt with these by talking to the correct people and resolving the challenges together.
There have been many highlights during my time at the project however the best times are when carrying out activities with the members such as; spending time at the Magdalen Project and arts and crafts.
Other highlights have been having the opportunity to shadow people in meetings and make many new contacts which helped me learn about local organisations as well as benefitting me in my future. Some contacts that I made as a volunteer are; Mind, Work Life, Yarlington, Ferne Animal Sanctuary and Bubble and Speak.
Being a volunteer with the watch project has really assisted my studies in Health and Social Care Diploma as I have been able to relate to a lot of the assignments and learn more about them through the project such as; Effective Communication, Equality and Diversity and Counselling Skills. Volunteering has also helped me to decide what future career I want to pursue which is why I am now studying Dual Field Adult and Mental Health Nursing.
Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the watch project and am sad that I had to leave.”