Our team – Volunteers

Nick Shoemark

I first heard about Watch through a family member who attended the Thursday Project in it’s early days and found it hugely beneficial. He would often tell me about the colourful characters he met there, and how the friendships he formed through the Project had helped him to overcome isolation and deal with his mental health issues. Thursday was always his favourite day.

 Sometime later – as fate would have it – after attending a Peer Support course, I found myself in a position where I was offered the opportunity to volunteer for Watch. Mental health issues are something that have always been a part of my life in one way or another, and they’re something I’m extremely passionate about. So, I jumped at the chance.

 I’m now in my fifth year at Watch and I’ve transitioned from volunteering into a part-time paid member of staff. I can honestly say that watching our members grow in confidence and ability is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this fantastic project.

 Sadly, the family member who first made me aware of Watch is no longer with us. But, just as it was for him, Thursday is now my favourite day, too.

Alan Williams

Someone I used to work with, in the Learning Difficulties Sector said that the project was looking for help with the cooking and I started volunteering at the Project around 4 years ago – back in 2015. I started because I am in love with food, and I wanted to do something for the community when I retired. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering, and I like to give something back. I have a very able assistant in Sue, and we have great fun getting meals prepared each week. Humour is a big part of it all & the project members are a good crowd which makes the Thursday project well worth attending. Members are always ready to help out – whether it be popping out to get forgotten ingredients or helping clear up.

Anne Portsmere

I do reflexology, Indian head massage, back massages and also help out at social events which the project does. My background was as an Occupational Therapist, but I wanted more of a hands on treatment which is why I started reflexology twenty years ago. I moved to the West Country 15 years ago and did a post grad reflexology course when I came here – this has proved invaluable.

I have always volunteered, previously I have done bereavement counselling. I find volunteering really rewarding, I love working with the watch project – they have a fantastic atmosphere & I love helping members to relax and find themselves. 

Joe Dunn

I came here originally via the Job Centre, I had worked at Waitrose but had to leave through mental health issues. At the job centre Leonie Girling had talked about volunteering & mentioned the Watch Project – it struck a chord with me, especially after my own experiences. I officially started volunteering early in 2019, I am a support volunteer and offer IT support for members and volunteers. I also run a mean Dungeon’s and Dragon’s session and have started learning how to play Magic as well.

In September I am going to University to study Games Development, specifically how to write them. I will miss coming to the Thursday Project but will be back during the holidays. I have found the whole project experience completely invaluable, the members completely welcomed me and my self-confidence has soared. It is a fantastic place to volunteer.

Kristy Kerrson

I started volunteering in May 2019, I have always had a really keen interest in mental health – my brother was diagnosed with mental health issues. I have noticed how much this issue affects my friends lives, and many others in society and I was keen to help others.

Last September I started University, studying Psychology in hope to eventually become a Psychotherapist. I have found my volunteering here really rewarding and beneficial to both myself and members – its given me different perspectives and the opportunity to have a new outlook.