“Volunteering helped my journey from homelessness to happiness”

“Volunteering helped my journey from homelessness to happiness”
26th February 2018 Amanda Bhavnani
James Chivers

In 2015, Greenfields resident, James Chivers’ mental health was suffering; leading to him losing his job and his home. Nearly three years later, he is living in a Greenfields flat that he loves, and credits volunteering as a Greenfields Digi-Pal for increasing his confidence and helping him on his journey to independence:

“Back in the summer of 2015 I was voluntarily admitted to a Mental Health Clinic in Chelmsford, where I spent nearly five months. My mental health deteriorated in the first weeks of my time in hospital and my medication was increased and then eventually changed. During my time in hospital I lost my job and was made homeless. I then moved into a ‘supported housing’ flat and I was signed off from work for the foreseeable future.

It was suggested that I look into doing some voluntary work and my Care Co-ordinator helped me with this. I was having a look online and came across the Greenfields DigiPals opportunity. It interested me as I thought it could be something that I would be good at and could pass my knowledge of getting online onto those who don’t know how to do certain things.

After getting in touch with Val Thompstone and going to a DigiPals meeting, where I met others wanting to be DigiPals, and people that were already DigiPals, I knew that this was something I wanted to take part in.

I went to one or two more DigiPal meetings and I asked when I would be able to help out with doing some actual volunteering. Val  said that I could get involved with the ‘Friday Computer Club,’ who meet weekly at Greenfields House.

I have now been volunteering for approximately 18 months and in that time my confidence has improved and I really enjoy it. Everyone gets along well with each other and there’s always a good atmosphere in the group.

During my time as a DigiPal volunteer, I have moved on from being in supported housing into a flat where I live independently. I feel very lucky to be accepted for a newly-built Greenfields Community Housing flat, where l feel very happy.”

Find out about our free support to get our residents online by clicking on this link: Get online

Greenfields is supporting Mind Mid and North East Essex as our Charity of the Year 2018. Mind believes that no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or in crisis, they’ll listen, give you support and advice and fight your corner.