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Volunteers Week 2021: Practical Support Volunteers Amanda Fagg and Cameron Price

Posted on 03, June 2021

Continuing our coverage for Volunteers Week 2021 we spoke to Amanda Fagg and Cameron Price. They are both Practical Support Volunteers in Together’s services that work to support people who’ve experienced mental distress and come into contact with the criminal justice system and specifically work as part of the Together Wellbeing Pathway.

The Together Wellbeing Pathway (TWP) is commissioned as a part of the Offender Personality Disorder (OPD) pathway in London. The OPD Pathway is part of the Integrated Community Service (ICS), managed by the London Pathways Partnership (LPP) and the National Probation Service (NPS). It is jointly funded, commissioned and delivered by HMPPS and NHS England.

The aim of the OPD Pathway is to improve the management of people who have offended and who are likely to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of personality disorder. The OPD Pathway takes place predominantly within the criminal justice system (CJS) and takes a Biopsychosocial approach. 

Amanda Fagg on experience of volunteering as a Practical Support Volunteer as part of the Together Wellbeing Pathway

Could you tell us about the volunteering role you do for Together and what that involves?

I work as a practical support volunteer within the Offender Personality Disorder pathway which involves helping people recently released from prison with their practical support needs. This can include help with paperwork, claiming relevant benefits and housing needs. There is also a befriending aspect and an opportunity to listen and build rapport with the people that we are working with.

What are some of the things you’ve learned from your time volunteering with Together in terms of the people you’ve worked to support and about yourself?

It has been very interesting to learn about people with very different and difficult upbringings and to hear of some of the struggles that they have encountered. It’s very rewarding work to help people who have complex needs and to gain insight into some of their needs. I have learned a lot about people that I may not have otherwise met and this has been a very enriching life experience for myself. I have also had the chance to learn a lot about my own boundaries and resilience and to be able to improve these skills.

What would you say to other people considering taking on a volunteering role or to looking to work in mental health support?

I would really recommend getting involved if you are interested in helping a very unique group of people. The relationships that we can build and the practical support work itself are very rewarding and it can feel like you are making a little bit of difference to people who have difficult lives.

Cameron Price on experience of volunteering as a Practical Support Volunteer as part of the Together Wellbeing Pathway

Could you tell us about the volunteering role you do for Together and what that involves?

As we take a client centred approach, every day can be really different depending on what your client’s needs are. The role can involve anything from helping someone register for a GP to support finding new housing. There is lots of contact time with clients, supporting them through whatever is needed, and helping them find solutions.

What are some of the things you’ve learned from your time volunteering with Together in terms of the people you’ve worked to support and about yourself?

How important listening is! It’s hard to appreciate how helpful a good listener can be sometimes, but in this role its crucial. It is a difficult skill to develop, but with Together’s support i have improved my active listening skills. To see how useful it can be in any interaction is really amazing.

What would you say to other people considering taking on a volunteering role or to looking to work in mental health support?

Do it! Volunteering can have its challenges but it is rewarding and interesting. This role helps you learn about yourself and others, and really makes a difference.