Richmond Fellowship was asked to contribute to a recent article in The Guardian around creating a movement of change in the charity and social care sector.
Danny O’Donoghue, Area Manager for our West services was only too happy to take up the task and this is what he had to say:
Do you have relevant personal experience?
People often think in binaries: are you political or altruistic? Are you a person in need or a volunteer? When truthfully, we are all of these things. It’s time to collapse the distinction between the helper and the helped, something addiction and prison services have known for years: there is no more effective support than that which comes from someone who’s been there.
Danny said: “If you ever want to know total isolation, try hearing voices. Nothing is more alienating than something you can’t share. When clinicians ran these groups, they were poorly attended – sometimes the staff outnumbered the people. That never happens with volunteers with experience. I was struck by one saying, ‘The voices have always been the thing I hide, that I find some way to bury. The pleasure in this instance is being able to wear it as a uniquely qualifying asset, to apply it in support of someone else’s recovery.’”
You can read the full article on Guardian Online here.
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