Stories from our volunteers

Our volunteers hold a truly diverse range of meaningful roles. 

We have volunteer prisoners mentoring other prisoners, as well as volunteers protecting the rights of young people, driving mobile clinics and promoting and delivering our needle exchanges. We have volunteers dispensing naloxone, conducting dry blood spot testing, using their lived experience to motivate and inspire others, and supporting our admin teams. The list goes on.

Read the personal stories of some of our volunteers below. If their stories have inspired you, explore our volunteer opportunities.

Sophie's story - a Peer Mentor at a Young People's Service in Kirklees

SophieI'm Sophie, I Volunteer at Change Grow Live's Young People's Service in Kirklees called 'The Base'. I've been a Peer Mentor here for nearly two years. I was a Services User myself with The Base and when I was discharged from the service, I was asked if I wanted to help other people by volunteering, and I said, "absolutely".   

My role involves going along to appointments with the people we support, talking to them and completing bits of paperwork, during one to ones, I shadow but I have started to contribute more to the conversation and give my own input. I enjoy volunteering, I feel like I'm giving back to the community and helping others, just like when I was supported by others when I needed it. I was recently supporting a young person who was struggling with anxiety, I talked her through some breathing techniques which she said really helped her.  

Talking therapy is a career path that I really want to go in to so I love that I'm gaining lots of experience here. I'd love to be a therapist of some kind, helping others with mental health. I think its brilliant that Change Grow Live take on Peer Mentors, I think its a great opportunity to give back. 

Carl's story - a Peer Mentor in His Majesty’s Prisons

"I work as a Peer Mentor for CGL in his Majesty’s Prisons. I was given this responsibility, as I myself have used the service and benefited greatly. I chose to help give back and support others overcome the same struggles I did. 

My role as a Peer Mentor involves being available to support prisoners and staff alike and help all people who engage with the service along their journey. 

I enjoy the sense of giving back and using my experience to guide and support others. I love what I do and the work CGL do in prisons and the community, and I am thankful for their continued belief in myself and others." 

Fiona's story - a Recovery Support Volunteer in Stirling

An image of a smiling woman with shoulder length blonde hair

"As a retired GP with time in my hands I wanted to find some worthwhile volunteering in the community and joined Change Grow Live about 2 years ago. 

Initially I was assigned to the Harm Reduction team and helped dispense new injecting equipment and went out in the streets of Stirling trying to forge relationships with those on the streets who would hopefully at some point in the future seek our help with their addiction. I also spent some time doing the Triage Clinic, seeing service users for their very first appointments in the service and at the homeless unit.  

I am now currently holding a small caseload of clients who I see on a regular basis for support with their addiction so enjoying the continuity of this. 

There is therefore a wide range of roles you can be involved in and there is something for everyone. If you want to do something worthwhile then Change Grow Live is a very inclusive and welcoming organisation. They offer further training and ongoing support, and I would highly recommend joining as a volunteer if this is an area you might be interested in." 

Izzy's story - a Young Person’s Resilience Volunteer in Sheffield

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"I chose to volunteer here as I wanted to help people, gain new experiences, and apply what I have learnt while studying my degree into a professional setting.  

My role includes working with young people on a one-to-one basis, offering them a tailored non-judgemental approach to their substance use. This can range from helping the young person reduce harm when taking substances to helping them reduce or stop their substance use.  

While volunteering, my confidence has improved. Recently, I have had the opportunity to run joint sessions with some of my colleagues to young people. In these sessions I have spoken to young people about what stop and search is and what they should do if this happens to them.   

I feel more confident in other aspects of my life too, for example volunteering has had a positive impact on my university studies, as it offers me first-hand experience of situations that may be challenging at times.   

I always look forward to coming in for volunteering, as the team makes me feel valued and appreciated. I really enjoy my role, but my favourite part has to be when you can see the young person has taken onboard what you have said to them, and you can see the change in them from the beginning of the session."

Tony's story - a Service User Involvement Volunteer in Sefton

An image of a man in a white t-shirt typing at a computer

"I chose the role because I was a service user myself at Change Grow Live. It is a perfect way to progress with my recovery and to give back my time to the service that helped me through a very difficult time in my life.  

I really enjoy engaging with the people we support and helping them with any questions they may have about the groups we have available. I also enjoy helping to get new projects up and running like starting a forum for service users to have a platform to have their voices heard in our service. 

I am extremely proud of my position at Change Grow Live due to the recovery journey I have been through so far. Now I am helping people who are in the place I was 12 months previous.   

The biggest sense of achievement I have had was when someone I was supporting was discussing with me how they were really struggling financially so I gave them some advice on how they can get support and now they are receiving the right benefits which has really helped them out."