Funding from the Maudsley Charity and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) supports volunteering services across the trust’s many different sites in South and South East London.
Volunteers contribute in a variety of different roles, including ward-based roles, befriending projects, research, gardening, library assistants, Bethlem Museum of the Mind and Bethlem Gallery volunteers, and sports and walking groups. Since 2012, over 1,500 volunteers have been recruited and kindly contributed their time to support our service users and projects.
Volunteers help to add value to the services provided by staff and often bring new skills and experience to services, helping to engage service users in becoming active in their recovery.
Through this scheme, Natashia runs a Saturday walking group for inpatients from Claire Ward at Lewisham Hospital’s Ladywell Unit.
Claire Ward is an inpatient unit for men aged 18 to 65 experiencing acute psychiatric illness. The ward can be a busy environment and providing patients with time off the ward, to get some fresh air and connect with nature, has been well received by both patients and staff.
Natashia says, ‘The weather doesn’t seem to deter patients from wanting to come out for a walk. On most occasions, they want to come, even in the cold – a great testimony of how appreciative service users are for this opportunity.
‘I’ve had really positive feedback from patients and staff, and we know that these walks really do make a difference to the lives of service users, staff and even the volunteers.’
She continues, ‘It’s a really humbling experience to hear and share our stories with people we don’t even know personally, but who are connected in a beautifully profound way – it’s really encouraging, inspiring and powerful.
‘Because of its success, it is my ambition to see every ward at the Ladywell Unit have their own volunteer to lead walks.’
Without support from donations, service users at South London and Maudsley would have less access to therapeutic projects like the Ladywell walking group. Get involved today and support life-changing projects at SLaM.