Volunteers sought to help change young lives

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An Island charity which has been supporting children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing for almost 40 years is launching an appeal for volunteers after seeing demand for its services increase.

The Isle of Wight Youth Trust would like to hear from people with an interest in young people and mental health issues who have a few hours to spare and would like to give something back to the community.

It comes as figures from the NHS1 suggest that one in five children and young people had a probable mental health condition, with the Trust’s recent Youth Census highlighting a growing need for support on the Island.

The charity works with around 1000 children and young people each year, delivering therapeutic counselling sessions, art and creative therapies, cognitive behaviour therapy and dedicated support for families – as well as providing a host of information and self-help resources online. It also offers wellbeing services which help prevent poor mental health from occurring, with a new specialist support service due to start soon including housing and employment advice designed to help develop young people’s independence and confidence.

Paul Savill, the Isle of Wight Youth Trust’s Wellbeing Lead said: “Our services are in demand more than ever, so we are reaching out to our local community to ask people to give a little of their time to make a big difference to young lives here on the Island.

“There are lots of different ways in which people can help – depending on people’s experience and interests, and how much time they are able to spare. Please do something amazing in 2024 – change a young life this year!”

The Trust is looking for volunteers in the following roles:

  • Peer supporters – young people and adults who have experienced poor mental health at some point and are able to share their knowledge and experience as a source of inspiration for young people.
  • Mental health ambassadors – young people and adults who meet young people on a day-to-day basis (e.g. small business owner, hairdresser/barber/beautician, teacher, sports coach etc) who, after training, will be able to recognise the signs of a young person struggling with their mental health and be able to direct them to the right support.
  • Friendly faces at the Youth Trust’s Newport HQ – reception support, meet and greet children and young people as they wait for their appointment, attend drop-in and group therapy sessions and helping with their ‘Snack and Chat’ events.
  • Share your expertise! – young people and adults with experience in digital marketing, website design and maintenance, or something similar, to help the Trust develop these activities to improve the service for children and young people.
  • Fundraising volunteers – young people and adults able to help with community fundraising and attend events.

All volunteers will receive an induction, training, and on-going support. Some roles may require a DBS check.

People are invited to find out more by contacting the Isle of Wight Youth Trust on 01983 529569 or emailing   volunteers@iowyouthtrust.co.uk

The IW Youth Trust will also be at the Island Volunteer Fair on Saturday 20 January, between 11am and 3pm at The Riverside Centre in Newport. It’s an opportunity to meet the team and find out more about the Trust’s work and volunteering opportunities.

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