Voluntary work

Hi everyone,

I wrote a message recently about making plans for 2017 and trying to be positive. I have been wondering about leaving the community centre where I have been volunteering for nearly three years (with a few gaps). I went to a meeting yesterday at the centre about the way one or two groups are being held. We have a support group for people with mental health problems. I have been helping to run that group. However, the manager of the centre told me that the support group is not positive enough and needs more input from me. I did not like what he was saying and I imediately felt put down and as though he was getting at me. I thought to myself that this is voluntary after all. I felt like telling him to find other people to run this group and I am very tempted to leave that place.

Maybe it is time for a change. I was talking about the reading in school. I first started to volunteer at that centre to try to help improve my confidence and self esteem. It is now having a negative effect on my wellbeing.

Do you think it is time to have a change or should I persevere and continue with the work at the centre. I think the manager has got power crazy and just likes to tell people what to do. So maybe I shouldnt let him get me down.

What do others think.

Thank you


26 Replies

  • Hi David

    My personal humble opinion is leave!

    I have worked in mental health in the past and it is extremely hard for depressed people to feel positive and upbeat.

    If they could do that they wouldn't be depressed!

    Don't stay somewhere where people are putting you down. My ex boss thrived on bullying me and putting me down. It still affects me now years later.

    Fibro is a hard enough illness to cope with as it is, without having to put up with being treated like that when you are offering your own time for free.

    There are many volunteering opportunities out there and I am sure there would be many places that would welcome you with open arms.

    Wishing you much peace

    Lu xx

  • Yeah. "pull yourself together" doesn't help

    That's exactly what I am trying to do!

  • Hi David, I think it's time for a change. He obviously doesn't appreciate all you are doing. Children much more fun . Take care

  • Go with your gut feeling, I'm sure there are many places out there who would be only to glad of your help where maybe you would be more appreciated, , a change is as good as a rest so they say, good luck

  • I wouldn't stay under those circumstances, if the opportunity arises to be involved with helping children, or adults, to read you would likely find that very rewarding, good luck with whatever you decide xxx

  • Thanks for the quick replies from Bluemermaid, Blue52, Lou1062 and Mydexter. My gut feeling at the moment is to leave. The idea of working with children again sounds attractive.

    I will let you all know what I decide.

    David x

  • I was going to say, it sounds to me like you have already made up your mind.

    Volunteering is a love of mine and it is horrible when I hear stories like this.

    Find a place you love to go and enjoy your work. There is a spectrum of opportunities and types of volunteer work.

    Good luck with your decision. I hope you find happiness.

    Take care××

  • Hi

    You have made up your mind so go for it .

    You have nothing to lose

    I am involved with Mental Health and it is so hard ,a support group is at it says

    Members are suppose to support each other .

    We all have good days and bad days

    As a manger he should be having some input and also be supportive to you not complaining

    Good Luck


  • Well said, couldn't have put it better myself!

  • Go for it David.....You have given a lot to your community now give something to the local children as well....they can be so uplifting. The one thing that tickled me when I worked at our local school was that the children called me "Miss" which brought back memories of when I was a wee one at school.....maybe your children will call you "Sir".....xx

  • I haven't worked in Mental Health but sadly have experience. I agree, go with your instinct.

    1. whatever the manager meant there are negative vibes, unacceptable in such a group.

    2. I was once told about getting away or keeping away from stressful situations. This is not the same as running away. Avoiding bad situations is a good coping strategy or tactic.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

  • It's time to go where you will be appreciated and you don't have to put up with bullies.

    Go for it!


  • I think I have decide to leave the centre. The question now is how do I tell the manager about my decision. I dont like bad feelings so I dont want to say he has upset me but I think he needs an explanation. I will tell him how the work is affecting my health. But do I meet with him or send an email. Either way it will be quite difficult.

    David x

  • Yea. You could explain how it is affecting you health and that you need to find something that will suit you better. You could say that you have felt that you have done all you can there and that you have other adventures to take and want to help the community in other ways or something like that if you want to avoid commenting on his recent comment. As I feel they are all true. You enjoyed it for a while but it is time for you to go. Your a volunteer and I feel that should make it more understandable.

    Unless he is a major **** all the time, I would do it in person and say your goodbyes. But if he is just that bad and you want to avoid the conversation all together I would go with the email.

    Good luck×××

  • Hi David, To go or not to go well some people have no idea how much volunteering takes out of us.

    Yes it helps people that is why we do it - it should never bring us down so I would go with the Leave vote- after all there are lots of different roles to be played in this life - your contribution is so important - pat your self on the back look around see where else your help would be welcomed!


  • Sounds like the power has gone to the managers head and I think as a volunteer you deserve more respect from them. If you are not happy there and its affecting your health don't wait. Move on and do something where you feel more appreciated.

    I waited too long in a job which was causing me bad health and I should have left sooner than I did. its time I can't get back and leaves me with regrets. Follow your heart. good luck. Joolz.x

  • Hi my friend

    I want to genuinely and sincerely wish you all the best of luck with whatever you decide to do?

    All my hopes and dreams for you


  • I worked for a charity for about 20 years and have volunteered for others. What many administrators seem to lose focus of is that a volunteer has to get as much out of volunteering as the people they help. When this connection brake down both sides lose. I hung in there with certain charities when I felt unappreciated and wished I hadnt, I was not appreciated when I had left and they realised how many hours I had put in. I made sure when I was in a position to have volunteers I treated them well and made sure they were appreciated. Even though I left 7 years back I am still in touch with many of them.

    Leave, as this is doing you health no good. Find something you would really love to do, it sounds as though the reading in school is pulling you so give it a go. Eveyone I have known who has done it has not regretted it. Do let us know what you decide and how you get on.x

  • I was wondering if he didn't mean any offence to you rather than you have experience of it and may know how to get the group more upbeat. The depression groups I've attended have been so depressing that I would have really liked to have attended a more up beat group. People with depression aren't low all of the time, they need a laugh just like anyone else maybe more so. It's your decision on whether you want to stay in that job...or change for the new year. I just hope if you do then you will be happier reading to children. I'd love to be able to work voluntarily but I'd never know when I couldn't make it in due to illness. My best wishes to you David xx

  • Hi David, I hope you had a good holiday.I feel if you give your time to try and help others and are not happy doing it....you know what you should do.I know you like music listen to a song by Cheryl Crow , I'm sure it's on U tube, titled "I Think a change would do You Good", may help you.Taje care, your friend, Peck.🐤54

  • David i think you should concentrate on where you think you can make the most difference and where you see the help is most needed in your area. I have offered help to voluntary gtoups before but im afraid i have found many are run for the benefit of and the cudos of the organisers. I choose to quietly help a number of families who are struggling to cope in different ways and that fall in between the gaps of the help that is out there with the normal services. With some i help with forms and letter writing, for 1 family i am a legal advocate, financialy i used to donate to childrens charities but now for 2 families i support them to have dogs that needed homing that otherwise they would not be able to afford, the joy of being able to help an animal and a family is very rewarding all round. I think you should try to put yourself where you and the people you are helping get the most from your kindness and compassion and away from negative influences and people who think they matter more than the cause. Very best of luck to you and keep up your generous kind helping attitude.


  • Hi Golfer- only just picking up yesterdays messages due to an nasty cough that kept me in bed. Can I ask what it is you volunteer to do? May I also say if you are on any benefits be careful it doesn,t back lash on you, the old cleshay- fit enough to volunteer fit enough to work! I.m sure you would be so useful to another cause..As for bossy Managers, I thinks its because they don't wear the trousers at home and let off steam at other people. he,ll miss you when you,re not there, could you not find out who HIs boss is and let him know whats going on?

  • Thanks for reply caz-54. You made some good points. I am claiming ESA and PIP, I have declared that I am doing voluntary work so hopefully my benefit is ok. But I could use this as a reason for leaving. I do various tasks at the community centre, including help run a support group for prople with depression. I think it is time for a change as I dont feel happy there.

    I will let you know what I decide.

    David x

  • Hi again David, glad about the PIP/ESA unfortunately I was told I could not do any form of work as I have claimed my pension early. I used to help in a soup kitchen years ago, and there seem to be more and more of them now, I would say many of the attendees have depression, you could consider the Samaritans which have a link from our forum., if you have a good ear for helping and listening I think the Samaritans would welcome you. Good luck with whatever you do and YES use the benefits as an excuse to leave your current role but don't let that awful person get away with his behaviour, make HIS boss aware of how he is, maybe HE needs to move on somewhere else-a new challenge maybe!

  • It's unfortunate he thinks manipulating a support group to be a certain way makes it better. Groups are there to be open to whatever people are going through imho. I can totally relate about the self esteem though mines easily knocked by unhelpful comments but at least when aware of it now you realise its a reflection of his character not yours. Well done on volunteering for so long too you should be commended for all that effort especially with fibro I think you're amazing to be consistently there for the centre and your groups as you have been.

  • Hi Golfer 15, if your not getting something back from the time your giving suggest you contact a local primary school. Kids are so delightful and teachers always grateful for help with kiddies reading. A check would be made to confirm your suitability to work with children. Have been a volenteer at a primary school for several years and love it.

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