I have been an Involvement volunteer for three and a half years. When I first joined I was quite ill having just come out of hospital. I was under an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the school of psychiatry at Queens Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham. She asked if I’d heard of the Involvement Centre; I said no. My OT got me to ring them on the Wednesday and by Thursday I was registered to become a volunteer with Nottinghamshire Healthcare and made most welcome.
As a volunteer, I’ m currently involved with care audits at HMP Nottingham prison. I have been before on a Fifteen Step Challenge and did not realise it is like a mini QMC inside with approx 97 staff looking after the health and welfare of patients.
There is a turnover of around 500 prisoners a month because it is a remand prison. The care audit only covers the NHS side of things. I have done similar audits as a volunteer on hospital wards; some announced and some not. The latter are called Mice Audits.
The benefit for NHS staff is they get first hand knowledge from service users and carers who know what it’s like to be on a ward or know what it’s like to look after a loved one with mental health issues.
As a volunteer I get lots of benefits such as gaining confidence, experience and training in different fields of the NHS. From audits to interviewing staff and learning about forensic healthcare. When you first come into Involvement you soon realise from others that you are not alone. Any mental health issues you have you can bet some one else as had a similar journey. The ‘1 in 4’ journey.
When I’m not volunteering you can find me either writing or performing satirical poems. I go by the name Ade Kelley, Man O’ Words. Either that or I’ll be watching one of my vast collection of feature films. I’m a frustrated actor and director! Performing Man O’ Words stuff is the nearest I get to that dream. I try to make things interesting and sometimes humorous. I get inspiration from the daily news and films. This is what I do when I’m not volunteering.