Volunteers in the spotlight

The volunteering contribution of Action Mental Health clients has been recognised during Volunteers’ Week, at a special thank you event in the National Trust property at Mount Stewart. For the past six months clients from AMH New Horizons North Down & Ards and AMH Promote have been spending time volunteering in the beautiful grounds at Mount Stewart.

AMH New Horizons provides vocational training, personal development and employment support to individuals recovering from mental ill-health. AMH Promote provides opportunities for adults with a learning disability to be socially active and develop new skills in a supportive and engaging environment.

Katrina McIlmail, Employment Officer, Action Mental Health said, “As part of our employment support we encourage clients to volunteer, especially in an area that they have a passion for.  It incorporates the five steps to well-being – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. Volunteering is a wonderful chance to gain work experience and is an excellent addition to a client’s CV.

“Our group enjoy working as part of a team and they have gained lots of new skills whilst enjoying the beautiful surroundings of Mount Stewart. The clients are helping out their local community and themselves, and feel a real sense of pride in their contribution. We are very grateful to the National Trust for their continued support and for celebrating what the clients have achieved during Volunteers’ Week.”

Gary Legge, a client at AMH New Horizons said, “Through my volunteering at Mount Stewart I have really enjoyed the opportunity to improve my gardening skills and connect with others.  The National Trust staff have gone the extra mile to welcome and support us on our monthly sessions.  My mental well-being has improved and I would definitely recommend volunteering to others who are considering it.”

Jenny Ferguson, Volunteering, Learning and Community Involvement Officer at Mount Stewart, said, “We are delighted to host this celebration event at Mount Stewart to thank the staff and volunteers from Action Mental Health for the many ways they support the National Trust.  Mount Stewart is a very special place that uplifts everyone and the vital work that volunteers carry out during their time with us is valued by all the team here.

“AMH volunteers make a real difference to Mount Stewart, from helping us look after our world class gardens through to essential biodiversity restoration work out on the newly acquired demesne, clearing invasive snowberry and laurel and planting red squirrel supporting native species such as scots pine.  Volunteers’ Week is the perfect time to say thank you for everyone’s efforts and we hope that the National Trust’s partnership with Action Mental Health in the North Down and Ards area will go from strength to strength.”

AMH New Horizons is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy, and the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. AMH Promote is funded by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

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