Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Volunteering at Mid Powys Mind

Today Philip Moisson tells us about his experience volunteering at the mental health charity Mid Powys Mind, based in Llandrindod Wells in the heart of rural Powys.

"Of the many organisations that I have worked for over the years the place where I have made the deepest connections with other people has undoubtedly been whilst volunteering at Mid Powys Mind in Llandrindod Wells.

For the past ten months I have been a regular helper in the Art Cafe – which for those of you who have not visited yet combines unique local arts and crafts with a relaxed and homely experience centred around hot drinks and homemade cakes. There are ten or so volunteers currently involved in the Art Cafe and we cover Monday to Friday between us.

The building which Mind uses hosts a drop-in centre for members, the Art Cafe which is open to the public, rooms for groups to meet above the cafe and also spaces for counselling and therapy to take place. There are also a few small offices up another flight of stairs.

As a member and a volunteer I am able to have a hot meal at lunchtime, usually with other people at the drop-in centre. Alongside the Art Cafe there was the chance to try a couple of other voluntary roles around the building, and I can genuinely say that I have looked forward to coming in to help almost every day I have been involved.

Over time I have found out about other opportunities nearby by speaking to other members, other volunteers and of course, paid staff. A few of us have spent quite a bit of time being involved in a Time to Change Wales project (further details on the free Creative Writing sessions can be found here!).

Of all the perks of being involved with a charity, training has to rank quite highly. Some of us have been on the Mental Health First Aid course and a physical First Aid course too. Usually I have a good idea what is going on in terms of the range of courses, services and events which Mid Powys Mind is able to facilitate - in no small part because I update the Facebook page.

Of course, no organisation in the broad mental health sector is immune from the pressures stemming from cuts or from the blunt realities that some of us may refer to in polite or abstract terms through well-meaning debates and arguments. The town, Llandrindod Wells, for all its nearby scenic charm, struggles to offer much in the way of employment opportunity - and that’s whether you have a known mental health concern or not.

However, in terms of focussing on positive outcomes whenever possible, finding a place within reach where people regularly share lived experience with one another has been the most important feature in my own personal journey so far. This will now hopefully involve going forward from a point in the past where I struggled on strong medication with no meaningful support in place, to a position where I am able to live medication free and can fully consider life choices once again."

If you would like to read more of Philip's writings, you can take a look at his own blog, Knowledge of Dark Matters.

Or, if you would like to share your mental health volunteering experience with a wider readership via this blog, and you are based in Powys, then please get in touch.

You can find out more about Mid Powys Mind here.  And congratulations to all those involved in the Art Cafe which was awarded the Group award at the Powys Volunteer of the Year Award recently.


  1. Lovely to see so many "local Artists" work on display. Congratulations on your achievement

  2. Hi

    Thanks for reading and commenting - it's great to get feedback, particularly on guest posts. I'll make sure Philip and the others at Mid Powys Mind pop back to take a look.