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.
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.
I’ve lived most of my life (38 years) in Chard but originate from the Bedfordshire area. I’ve volunteered with local groups from late school age in the days of flexi time. I helped with people with special needs at a ‘Saturday club’ as my sister was a member. Later on in Chard Tourist Information centre for many years and then I was a School Governor at Avishayes school.
With the way the fast, modern world has evolved to be, I’d be surprised if we are all doing OK and don’t need a friend to talk to or need support from time to time. This is where I believe Chard Watch comes into its own. I help once a week in the office and hope to come to the Rugby club more often. I especially loved the Christmas party doing karaoke with the members. Such fun!
Currently I’ve been volunteering with the Chard Covid19 team taking calls. This only confirms my belief that pulling together as a community and supporting each other is the only way forward and helps keeps us centred and happy.
I am a retired Registered Nurse who worked at various hospitals, including several years at Chard Community Hospital – now a keen Chard Watch Project kitchen based volunteer.
I like working with the fine folks who end up struggling with the demands of life. After all, so do I. I used to offer brief therapy in Cambridge, and also spent about 20 years supporting people with genetic problems and learning disability for Mencap. I also suffer from those to some degree, especially as the years pile on. Anyway, I joined Watch soon after moving to Chard to offer positive conversations to some extent, but after a while I was shunted off to the kitchen where I soon learned from great chefs to make comfort food, which actually is as helpful as anything else, and much appreciated. So that helps me to feel valued. We all have the same needs so it is fairly easy to spot them and act accordingly. So keep Watching and keep learning from what you see.