"You know you’re doing well at the Project when you’re allowed to volunteer. You’re trained and treated like staff then. God it’s a good feeling! It means you’re somebody in your own mind. You’re getting somewhere.
We’re allowed keys to the laundry and to supervise other service users doing their washing. We can help look after the stores so it’s all tidy like and everything’s in its place so it can be found. We can work in the kitchen and learn skills we could get a job with. We can even work on reception. It’s fantastic!
We learn so much in our training ‘cos we want to learn, it’s not like school where you have to go and be talked at. Here they take time to explain and make sure you understand and because you’ve been a service user yourself you understand what they’re telling you. Tell you what though - it makes you look at things differently. I think that’s why you feel so on a high, like you’re somebody ‘cos it changes the way you look at the Project and suddenly you start understanding what the staff have been telling you all along.
They keep you on track mind and that’s a really good thing! If we slip we have to be told because once you get to this stage there’s no way you want to go back to where you started. We don’t always think it’s fair at the time, but we get it and that’s why we’re allowed to be the lucky ones who volunteer along with members of the general public."