Recovery Graduation - a moment of real sunshine

Screenshot of all the recovery graduates

Today [Friday 29th January] CrossReach marked its 11th Recovery Volunteer Graduation and its first one to be completely delivered and celebrated online. Vic Walker, Head of Adult Care Services called the event a “moment of real sunshine.”

12 students graduated from the programme along with one previous graduate who has gone on to achieve an SVQ 2.

Among those graduating today is William who now volunteers at Allarton, a residential service for adult experiencing mental health issues.

“I was in addiction with alcohol for nearly two years and went through the CrossReach 12 week programme at the CrossReach Residential Recovery Service (CRRS). I went into Move On  accommodation with CrossReach and am now in a flat of my own.

“I heard about the programme from staff and other volunteers and asked about them how they became volunteers. They told me that I’d get a chance at the end of the 12 week programme and so when staff approached me about it I thought I’d give it a try.

“I’d done social care before but I wanted to give a wee bit back as I know how much the service relied on volunteers for taking people to appointments.

“There’s so much about the training that stands out but the group work was really good, seeing how other people would deal with different scenarios and being with people who saw things differently. It also helped to build the confidence that I lacked.

“The people I’m helping now know I’ve been through the programme. They know I’ve ‘been there’ and that I can relate to them – that’s a good working relationship there. It also gives them encouragement as well, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Derek McCabe, manager of Allarton, told us he believes that it’s because of William’s own experiences that he shows so much empathy for the tenants and has seen William’s own confidence grow:

“William has come in and is just like one of the team, showing how useful volunteers can be for a service and the people supported by the service. He’s absolutely fantastic. One tenant in particular, who was previously reluctant to engage, gets on really well with William and he has built trust with them very quickly. This has allowed them to have the confidence to go out and do everyday things that previously they would not have considered.”

Looking to the future, William is pursuing paid employment within mental health support services:

“I’ve worked in different settings in social care but I think I’ve found my place in mental health, supporting other people as well as helping my own mental health. I can’t wait.”

As a final word of encouragement to others considering taking part in the programme William said:

“Give it a chance. Give it a try. Look at me and where I’ve been, this could be you in a couple of months.”

Further reading:  CrossReach’s response to Scotland’s drug death tragedy 

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