Praxis Care, Northern Ireland’s largest charity, held their annual Volunteer Befriending Awards ceremony recently in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown.
The Praxis Befriending Scheme operates throughout Northern Ireland and Isle of Man – current schemes are located in Belfast, Derry City, North Down and Ards, Antrim, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Lurgan and Isle of Man. The scheme matches volunteers with people who are suffering from and or in danger of developing mental ill health.
The awards were part of Praxis Care’s marking of Volunteers Week 1st-7th June and recognising the fantastic contribution volunteers make to the work of Praxis Care.
The volunteers help to reduce the social isolation people can experience due to mental ill heath and the associated stigma.
The volunteers and service users can meet for a coffee and a chat, go shopping, take a walk or do some sporting activity, watch a movie or indeed anything that they would enjoy doing together.
Speaking at the awards Andy Mayhew Director of Care at Praxis Care said
“Praxis Care operates a volunteer befriending scheme with over 160 matched friendships, some of which have lasted 5, 10 15 and even 20 years!
Volunteer befrienders can help to reduce the risk of suicide, help to minimise the feeling of isolation, reduce pressure on families, and help to alleviate poor health and the risk of hospital admission.
The scheme offers a great opportunity for volunteers to get involved in the work of Praxis Care as well as offering valuable support for people affected by mental illness.
The Awards ceremony is about giving recognition to the valuable support given by our volunteers as well as highlighting the scheme”.
Angela Coogan, Greater Belfast, 20 year volunteer also stated
“I decided to try voluntary work when my youngest son started school in 1990. I always did voluntary work through my Church and feel if I have spare time I like to use it to help someone else.
Over my time with Praxis I have been matched with 3 ladies and have remained good friends. I meet my current friend every fortnight and we go into town for shopping and something to eat, we also like to go on local walks. Volunteering has been of benefit to me as I find it helped me through difficult times in my own life. By listening to others you can relate to their problems and see how others take a different slant on things. I also meet other volunteers at different social events and outings with Praxis. I really appreciate receiving my 20 year award from Praxis which was a beautiful lamp that has been admired by all my family”
Brigid Quinn, Derry 20 year volunteer also said
“I have been volunteering with Praxis since March 1990. I have always been interested in mental health and when my youngest son started school a friend suggested I volunteer with Praxis as she was volunteering with them and was really enjoying it. I have been matched with different ladies in this time and still keep in contact with some of them as they have become very good friends. Initially, some of my new friends didn’t want to go out, so I would visit them in their home and through time we would go out shopping or go for a coffee. I couldn’t be without my voluntary work now as I find it is the best way to forget about my own day to day issues and focus on someone else for a short while. I was delighted to receive my 20 year award from Praxis as over the years they have provided great backup and support to me and I would recommend volunteering with them to anyone.”
On the night, awards were presented to volunteers from different schemes throughout Northern Ireland who have completed five, 10, 15 and 20 years of service with Praxis Care Befriending.
If you want to know more about how you can become involved in the Praxis Care Befriending Scheme contact: Praxis Care 25 / 31 Lisburn Road Belfast BT9 7AA 028 90 234 555 or visit www.praxiscare.org.uk
Notes to editors
To organise interview with volunteers or service users or further information about the work of Praxis Care call Paul Collins Assistant Director – Fundraising 079 187 20554
Praxis Care is the largest charity providing care for vulnerable children and adults affected by mental heath ill health, learning disability, acquired brain injury and dementia in UK and Ireland. Praxis Care provides a range of accommodation and support services for 1,432 people in 66 separate units in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and UK.
Mental Health Facts :
- Research indicates that up to 1 in 4 people will have a mental health issue sometime in their lives.
- Famous people like Winston Churchill, Paul Merton, Spike Milligan and Ronnie O’Sullivan have all had mental health issues.
- At present 450 million people world wide have mental illness
- There are many different types of mental illness including anxiety, neurosis, depression, psychosis, bi polar disorder and schizophrenia.
Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. The Week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too. To highlight this contribution, there is a burst of activity during 1-7 June when a host of organisations from the public, private and charity sectors will hold parties and award ceremonies to thank their volunteers. and highlight their contribution to local groups and the wider community, while individuals are encouraged to use the Week to find out more about volunteering.
For more information www.volunteersweek.org.ukShare with ....