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Blog: “If this group manages to help one person then it’s worth it.”

This week is Volunteers’ Week, a time to celebrate the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is celebrating their volunteers by sharing a series of blogs. In this blog we hear from Norman, a volunteer in Bassetlaw. 

Man walking in a street.Hi, I’m Norman and I volunteer by leading the Men’s Walk and Talk sessions. As a person with a mental health condition, I found the first lockdown in March 2020 difficult. I worked from home and started to feel very isolated and alone. In July, we were told that the office was reopening and I couldn’t wait to get back.

Paula, the Get Out Get Active project officer, approached me and asked if I was interested in volunteering for a new walking group, Men’s Walk and Talk. Having previous experience of volunteering as a Scout Leader, I thought this could be a good way to get out and meet people again.

The opportunity came at a good time as I was going through family issues which impacted my mental health a lot. I thought leading and organising the walk and talk group would help to support my own mental health as well as helping others to speak more openly about theirs.

Paula is supporting me to set up the new group by offering training and funding. We have discussed locations for the group and agreed on an accessible space where disabled and non-disabled people can enjoy being active together. The group aims to combine the benefits of being active together with social interaction to support people’s health and wellbeing.

With the aim of the group being to get people to talk and support their mental wellbeing, I completed a Mental Health First Aid course. The course was interesting, and as someone who has a mental health condition it was a good refresher. I learnt how to approach other people and learnt that everyone responds differently to help. The training has given me more confidence to support and talk to people with mental health conditions.  

I would love to see the group really set off and grow, so we will be running sessions during weekends when most people can make it. The group is there to support people struggling who may not be able to access other support groups due to work commitments. As someone who needed support in the past, I am excited to organise and lead this group.

I feel if this group manages to help one person, then it’s worth it. I have been in difficult situations due to my mental health and I would have benefitted from a group like this. I believe GOGA has been instrumental in creating a group like this. Thanks to the support from GOGA and the funding, a group like this is now possible.

This story is part of our Volunteers’ Week series showcasing how GOGA volunteers are supporting and engaging some of the UK’s least active disabled and non-disabled people in inclusive and fun activities.

About Get Out Get Active

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here.