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Volunteers’ Week: Celebrating our NT LIFE volunteers

NT LIFE Recovery College relies on the support of volunteer facilitators to deliver its programme of sessions designed to help people manage their own mental health and wellbeing. NT LIFE had to quickly adapt to online provision when Covid hit and has provided many students with vital support during these difficult times.

“The facilitators at NT Life really promote the feeling that we are all equal; there is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ We are all learning from each other, and growing together -there is a real sense of empowerment in that.” Emma H

Paul Lapham uses lived experiences to help nurture, build confidence and develop new skills in students. Using two of his own coping strategies – repairing old/broken items and mindful photography – to develop and deliver tailor-made sessions: ‘Talk Tech & Tinker’ and ‘Snap Out Of it!’. Paul has also qualified as a WRAP Facilitator during the summer of 2020.

Phil Saint has been with NT LIFE since July 2020. After coming along to a mindfulness session, Phil stepped up to facilitate regular online and in person mindfulness sessions.

“I feel grateful for all the help I received in the past and can ‘give back’ through my volunteering.”

Football lover Kath Miller has played an essential role in keeping the Football for Mental Health sessions going through lockdowns, venue changes and Covid restrictions, making sure the group stayed in touch via WhatsApp, so that they could continue to support each other away from the football pitch.

The ever-funny Julie Bishop has been with NT LIFE from the beginning. She facilitates DB Cuppa T and DB essential skills, is setting up a Carer’s support group, ready to go for her Covid-postponed swimming group, runs a Fun-da-mentals Facebook support group and is working on upcoming suicide prevention session. During lockdowns she kept people entertained, including her fancy dress Clap for Carers Tik Tok videos.

Jess Shaw was inspired partly by NT LIFE’s Little Box of Hope to create an Emotional Recovery Toolkit Course, for individuals to create a personalised kit which contains mindful items to use to help during challenging times, with things for all five senses and self-care tips.

Shelley Poste delivered the popular ‘Understanding and coping with depression’, and ‘Understanding and coping with anxiety’ workshops. Shelley also helped pack the Little Box of Hope, which was sent out last summer to people struggling with their mental health at home. Shelley has also qualified as a WRAP Facilitator

Emma Farrell has blossomed in her roles at NT LIFE. Starting out as an Admin Volunteer, she progressed to facilitating a number of Creative Writing courses, both with NT LIFE and more recently Meadow Well Connected. She also Co-Facilitated DBT Skills Training and developed lockdown sessions Book and Beyond.

Former Art & Design teacher Mick facilitates our popular Art Groups. We have had great pleasure in referring students to North Tyneside Art Studio to further develop their skills and interests and Mick has also inspired one of our students to enrol on a HNC Fine Arts course.

Also a mention of our new Facilitator Ryan Boyle who is running online Creative Arts for Self Care and Creative Writing for Poetry!

While she is no longer with NT LIFE, we can’t forget Amy Crammond, who was instrumental in the creation of our craft sessions. During the first Lockdown Amy developed the Creative Community and delivered weekly online craft sessions and has also delivered sessions from Whitley Bay Big Local.

Additionally, Special thanks must go to volunteers from the start of the project who without their efforts would have meant our progress was delayed

Phil Waugh (Mindfulness Facilitator),

Alice Cosgrove (Positive Self Talk),

Patrick Mayne (Admin),