Trust volunteer nominated for Proud of Barnsley award

Date: 06 July 2018

A Barnsley woman who is in recovery from anxiety and depression has been nominated for a top local award after volunteering with us. Michelle Clegg South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Michelle Clegg, a volunteer at The Exchange Recovery College, has received several nominations for volunteer of the year in the Proud of Barnsley awards 2018, run by the Barnsley Chronicle.

Michelle has been volunteering with the Trust for nine months which is helping her maintain her recovery. She began her journey as a learner with The Exchange a year and a half ago.

Michelle suffers from depression and anxiety which was diagnosed around six years ago. After attending counselling, Michelle’s GP recommended that she sign up for courses at the recovery college.

Michelle said: “When I visited the recovery college and saw how other learners got involved I wanted to be a part of this.”

She participated in courses such as managing depression, communication skills, advanced confidence and many more.

As she progressed on her journey, Michelle did a presentation in her advanced confidence course in which she shared her own experiences.

The facilitator noticed an improvement in her confidence and ability to make quick decisions. Through this progress, Michelle was asked to co-facilitate the ‘confidence, assertiveness and communication’ course.

She said: “As a mother, doing something to actively maintain my recovery is very important to me. I was nervous at first but wanted to give something back to the services that helped me. Volunteering allowed me to find a passion and focus in life. I aim to inspire others that no matter what you go through, you can achieve anything.”

Michelle hopes that her nomination will highlight mental health issues and help others to understand how to be more open about being unwell and able to manage their difficulties.

Michelle said: “It’s important to know that issues are better out in the open. If anyone is thinking of getting involved in recovery colleges and volunteering, just do it. Make a call and visit to see the benefits being a part of this community brings. It lets you separate your mental health issues and deal with them individually to then use them as a ladder to build you back up again to that positive place.”

This is not the first time Michelle has been recognised for her contribution. At a learner’s celebration event in September 2017, Michelle was the distinguished learner of the year. Her newfound confidence has encouraged Michelle to recently begin volunteering for Barnsley and District Junior Football League.

If you are interested in volunteering like Michelle, please email volunteer@swyt.nhs.uk or call 01924 316426.

You can also find out more information about our recovery colleges on our website.