Paul has recently joined our team of volunteers at Horton Housing, helping to run our new Tea, Toast and Talk Group, giving men a chance to open up in a respectful and supportive environment every Wednesday.
“I used talking groups when I was a client, which has helped me run these sessions because I know how people interact in groups,” said new volunteer Paul. “I have also done counselling training, so this group allows me to use the skills that I have learnt.
“I hope to use my experience to help others. I have been a volunteer at Mind and a service user at Mind. I went there when I was in a bad way a few years ago and started a creative writing group,” he added. “That helped people build up their confidence and showed me that I have teaching skills that I didn’t realise I had. I have progressed so now I don’t have to visit Mind as a client anymore, and this group at Horton is an ideal thing because I am using those skills.”
Having worked in both housing and mental health before, Paul has valuable experience that he shares at the group. Currently between jobs, he is looking for a suitable role that will allow him to continue attending our Tea, Toast and Talk sessions.
“I hope to find something part time that I can fit around this group. That would mean that I would attend one group a week. The most important thing for me at the moment is getting back into paid work; something like this would be perfect. I am looking for something where my communication skills and ability to work well with people would be valuable.”
Away from his time volunteering, Paul is very passionate about arts and is looking forward to visiting different places in the future.
“Before lockdown I started going to the cinema again and now I hope to start going back there. I was going to a bar that was run by an arts group in Bradford and I would go there for the open mic. I found that if I stand up in front of people and sing, I get a real kick out of it! I used to go there every week and got to know people really well. That place has closed down now which is a real shame, but I am hoping something like that will reopen.”
For more about our Tea, Toast and Talk Group, click here.