Volunteer case studies Thomas (Age 13)- Young Volunteer Thomas (13) was referred to us in November, 2013 with anger and self-esteem issues and he initially began to attend the weekly open groups and then went on to attend a Drama Group followed by Drama Therapy in 2015. Thomas also attended a training session for volunteers where he engaged well and acted very responsibly throughout. He took a lead role in organising our Halloween and Christmas parties. He has represented the Link Charitable Trust at events and even been on local radio. In 2016 Thomas was asked to officially open The Link Charitable Trust and below are parts of his speech. "As my confidence grew I wanted to help other young people like myself so I became a volunteer with the Link Charitable Trust. It is a place where I, my sister and my mum can come and have fun and learn new things all in a safe place. A place where you can share your experiences, and skills and will always have someone who is willing to listen I hope it gives to other families the joy we as a family have found". Gemma (Age 26)- Adult Volunteer Hi, my name is Gemma and I'd like to share with you my wonderful 18-month experience as a volunteer with The Link. Firstly, a little about myself and what attracted me to the service. - I am a 26-year-old woman with a diagnosis of Anxiety and Depression. It was during my own therapeutic support that I discovered The Link, happening upon an advert via the volunteering platform do-it.org as I desperately sought to better my wellbeing. Due to my related position, I felt an immediate likeness to the charity and their mission; to reduce the number of children and young people experiencing emotional and mental health difficulties. My journey began with a four-month placement in February 2016 where I lent myself to the bustling admin team, shouldering duties such as creating case packs, scoring SDQ's (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires) and inputting data. During this period, I also turned my hand to assisting HR, documenting and filing accounts and amending employee's personnel's. It wasn't long before June came around and It was apparent that I did NOT want to leave! To my delight I was more than welcome to stay, continuing with familiar tasks as well as new, grading RCADS (Revised Children's Anxiety and Depression Scales), compiling letters and uploading referrals. There is no shortage of benefits being at The Link, as I was given the incredible opportunity to engage with service users by way of supporting their open groups. I particularly enjoyed being involved with Planet Funk, a session which is centred on the exploration of music, song writing and learning vocal techniques. This is facilitated by Resident Musician Chris Groom and the lovely Lisa Whiteley, Emotional Wellbeing Practitioner. On top of everything, I was generously provided with training, having an array of LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children Board) recognised courses at my disposal which I am now proud to of completed and uphold. I am also immensely gratified to be a qualified Youth Mental Health First Aider, thanks to The Link's very own accredited MHFA Instructor Sarah Noteyoung who delivers an extensive 14-hour workshop, packed with the ins and outs of various mental illnesses. In my opinion, The Link are an exceedingly passionate and dedicated team who work tirelessly to provide the upmost support to youngster's in our locality. I strongly believe it is imperative that the issues in which they warmly welcome through the door are intercepted and treated in order to aid those who are suffering and avoid them carrying an adverse effect into adulthood. Over time spent with the service, I have conquered many personal shortcomings and will be forever indebted to The Link for the knowledge they have provided me. I am extremely relieved to know there is such an astounding organisation available to the children of today. Thank you, The Link. You made me realise that which ails me, empowers me. Thank you for reading.