The SLaM Youth Volunteering Programme provides opportunities for young volunteers aged 16-25 to get involved in mental health service delivery.
Sarah Rodway-Swanson led the programme until 2020, and her role was made possible by grants from a number of organisations including PEARS, the National Lottery Community Fund and the Maudsley Charity. It was part of the national #IWill campaign for youth volunteering, launched by three political parties and HRH The Prince of Wales in 2013.
Sarah Rodway-Swanson, Young Persons Volunteer Coordinator, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM)
Sarah was responsible for encouraging more young people to be socially active and engaged in mental health provision. She was the only one out of 25 other Volunteer Coordinators in the #IWill campaign to be based in an NHS mental health service.
According to the Time Out 2019 global city survey, Londoners are volunteering 13% more of their time compared to 2018, and its becoming a part of the lives of young people across the city as well. Volunteering provides people with the opportunity to gain new skills, support others and make a difference.
Sarah said: “I graduated with a psychology and anthropology degree from St. Andrew’s university, where I also had a role as a volunteer coordinator. I’ve always been really interested in mental health and really enjoyed the volunteering experience. This is my first job, and after seven months of living in London I am starting to feel settled in.”
“No two days are the same. I talk to staff on the wards and help to decide which volunteers would be best placed for particular roles. In SLaM the roles can be quite specific, unlike in an acute environment people here are often on the same ward for a number of weeks, so it’s easier for volunteers to form positive, long term relationships.”
The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill Fund. Pears Foundation is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.
The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 partners from across the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020, wherever they live and whatever their background.
The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people to engage in social action. The campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588).
CAMHS Mentoring Project
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust now runs the CAMHS Mentoring Project. It matches volunteers on a one-to-one basis with current Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) users. The pair meet regularly to access community activities together and build a relationship. Volunteer mentors are someone the service user can have fun with, try new things with, and talk to for informal pastoral support. The project is led by Sinéad, the CAMHS Mentor Volunteer Coordinator.
The Maudsley Charity, working in partnership
Partnerships are an important part of our strategy. We work closely with a wide range of organisations that share our values and our commitment to improving mental health. We are always keen to explore new partnership opportunities across all sectors and industry.
We believe that by working together we can make more of a difference. If you think you can support our work we’d be keen to talk to you.