What our Service Users, Carers and Public Volunteers say about volunteering with SEPT

Service user volunteer

One of the Five Ways to Wellbeing is Give, and volunteering for SEPT allows the right balance of involvement, engagement, fun and giving your time to improve services for others. The support offered by the wonderful PALS teams allows a family-feel for both the volunteers and staff, and is a credit to the organisation’s policy of service-user involvement.


Why do I Volunteer with SEPT? – service user volunteer

I volunteer with SEPT because I strongly believe that service users, both current and former – need to be involved in the process to ultimately improve mental health services for our peers, people who also battle with mental health problems, be it short-term or long-term ones.

Volunteering can provide some degree of purpose for the person themselves, though also mental health trusts & the wider NHS need to encourage & respect people with lived & living experience of mental health problems to be part of valued projects like the Student Nurse Buddy Scheme and the SEPT interview panels.  Make a difference…


Why I Volunteer for SEPT – service user volunteer

I volunteer for SEPT because it keeps me firstly involved in a Trust that has helped me be and stay well and secondly I do it to say thank you for that help SEPT gave me. I started volunteering for the Trust in 2006 although my time with the Trust was a long while before. I have been involved in so many things from local forums to interviewing the Trust Chairman.

I feel valued and when volunteering I don’t feel like a person with a mental health label over me. It has kept me well, focused and above all I don’t feel like I’m on the scrap heap of life because I’m cared for by being a volunteer.

It’s also allowed me to meet so many new people who I am fortunate now to call friends so not only have I become an asset that helps the Trust but my social circle has grown.

Also the cake that the patient experience team offer is great too! So it’s win win


Public Volunteer

I’m a cancer survivor myself, I was diagnosed in 2010 and once I’d finished the main part of my cancer journey I decided that I wanted to give back something. The Trust’s service is affiliated to MacMillan, so I feel that it’s a way of giving back to an organisation that was an immense support not just to myself but to my family as well.


Carer Volunteer

SEPT helped me to take part in their carers’ course. I am now a volunteer tutor on the carer’s courses and really enjoy this role and the difference it makes to other carers. I think as a generality people don’t volunteer regularly. It’s very difficult to find volunteers and it’s almost a direct approach and SEPT does recognise volunteers with thank you events throughout the year.


Service user volunteer

I started volunteering in 2014 with the SEPT Recovery College Pilot. I bring my experience of being both a carer and service user. Volunteering for SEPT has really built my confidence. I have gone onto co-chair with commissioners on setting up the South East Recovery College. I am also involved in the ‘supper with consultants’, PLACE visits and patient forums. I feel I am a valued member of the service user and carer volunteers’ team working with the Patient Liaison Team. The Patient Liaison Team really look after us volunteers.


Service user volunteer

I have Bipolar and doing volunteering helps me so much it gives me so much satisfaction knowing I can help in so many ways. Being wanted/needed is such a good feeling.

Just because you have an illness, don’t think you can’t help….you can, and believe me you will get so much out of it.


Back to volunteers’ week 2016