Engagement and Promotion Volunteer – Change Together

Role description


Responsible to:    Volunteer Co-ordinator and Project Co-ordinator
Hours:            1-2 days per week.


About the Change Together Project
The Change Together project is funded by Time to Change, England’s biggest programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

The one year project reflects the values of the Time to Change programme to challenge the stigma and discrimination still associated with mental health and to work with local communities to create a society where mental health problems are not hidden in shame and secrecy; where nobody is afraid to speak out about their problems, or left wondering where they can turn for help.

The Change Together project is a partnership between Peter Bedford Housing Association (PBHA) and Volunteer Centre Hackney with PBHA as the lead partner. The ambitious targets include training and supporting 36 volunteers with mental health problems to hold conversations with 1200 members of the public from 1 March 2014 to 28 February 2015. Social contact will take place through a series of workshops, pop up shops, tasters and exhibitions held in internal and external venues. They include PBHA’s newly refurbished and re-branded shop in Islington, Outpost, our community garden/growing hub and Grapevine Cafe in Hackney and external venues such as community organisations, galleries, work places and adult learning venues across both boroughs. Hand-crafted products and homemade produce from our existing enterprises will provide a ready ‘hook’ to engage the public and tap into enthusiasms from fashion and food to sport and popular culture. A simple survey will facilitate conversations and record contact and changed attitudes.


Summary of the role:
The Engagement and Promotion volunteers will help to publicise the project and social contact events and engage in conversations with the public. Engagement and Promotion volunteers will have lived experience of a mental health problem, either personally or through someone close to them, and will talk to people informally about mental ill-health at organised events and activities. Through these conversations they will be helping to break down stigma and prejudice often held by members of the public. They will be an opportunity for the volunteer to explain what it is really like to have a mental health condition and to give the facts behind mental ill-health. Volunteers will be supported and trained to initiate conversations and given key messages to say, and will always be amongst others. They will never be expected to disclose anything they do not want to, and will be given intensive training on how to deal with difficult responses.


Duties and responsibilities:
•    Publicising the Change Together project and social contact events
•    Initiate conversations with members of the public
•    Record an email address for everyone they speak to (or share this task with an Administrator Volunteer)
•    Aim to explore the person’s thoughts and concerns around mental health
•    Explain the real facts behind mental ill-health
•    Be positive and good-natured to everyone
•    Deal with unpleasant responses in a polite and professional manner
•    Record details of conversations and at the very least email addresses (or share this task with an Administration Volunteer)


•    At all times abide by the Volunteer Centre’s policies on Equal Opportunities, Health and Safety and Confidentiality and the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
•    Actively participate in supervision sessions and attend training courses as required.
•    Attend and actively participate in project team meetings.
•    Be willing to take on other duties required for the project.


Qualities required:
•    Experience of mental health problems and an understanding of mental health issues
•    Good spoken and written English
•    Pleasant calm manner
•    Ability to remain positive and professional whilst facing antagonism
•    Ability to present information concisely and clearly
•    Ability to motivate and encourage others
•    An understanding of equal opportunities


Support offered:
•    1:1 supervision and ongoing support
•    Ongoing review and feedback on work
•    A work reference
•    Travel and lunch expenses
•    Training including:
o    communication skills
o    minimising conflict
o    supporting vulnerable people
o    managing boundaries and expectations
o    mental health awareness
o    mental health first aid
o    equal opportunities
o    data protection.


Expenses are available for travel costs and meals.