Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
Hello everyone, it’s been a long while since I’ve written a blog. So when I set up this new blogging site, I thought besides Football, it needs to be about something meaningful as writing MH-related blogs are not easy.
I’ve seen a lot in my time as a Volunteer for various projects about how they (Volunteers) are treated, respected & valued (or not, in some cases sadly). We see in the news most days about power-brokers saying “this or that will be sorted” which any cynics will mention is nonsense sometimes – you only have to look at the situation with the NHS & Junior Doctors to recognise that. On a similar note, all this ‘Brexit’ talk is being shoved in and frankly, it gets rather dull & boring, not to mention hiding other more interesting topics that are out there.
Some will say Politics is the same in the boring stakes, though it is undoubtedly a murky & divisive world. I wonder sometimes how those involved in ‘that world’ truly see Volunteers and away from the myriad of Press Releases & public statements (the PR culture), I suspect some of them don’t think highly enough of the army of good people that are out there, improving lives & the like, a far cry from ‘saving money’ and the other turgid things that get mentioned these days.
That brings me to Volunteers in the MH (Mental Health) arena. Some organisations do respect the impact that such people can have, indeed running some peer groups for example & such like because to some (often the big-wigs but not always) such activities can be an after-thought. Also, you have those organisations out there that are rather expectant, which is rather disrespectful in my opinion. It gives you the impression that they don’t really know what Volunteering truly is, which I suspect is pushing its way in, in more areas than it should because of ‘budget cuts’ or just fundamentally not knowing how to respect and/or value people who give up their time & more in some cases to do a lot of good. And whichever way you cut it that is the wrong attitude.
Which in turn brings me back to the said ‘PR culture’ and the ‘big-wigs’. I recall earlier this summer being at an organisation’s mini-event to thank Volunteers which was nice, though when you see the Chief Exec of the organisation walk in to give a speech for a few minutes and then ask for a picture or two with Volunteers & then waltz off soon afterwards, it does make you think. Is it Gate-crashing? Seeking a Photo opportunity? Either way, some of us that were savvy enough to see through it just shook our heads and laughed a tad.
The bottom line is that Volunteering will & should continue until the year dot. I just hope that some attitudes will change in the coming years as a savvy colleague of mine said once “Volunteers should not replace a service, they should compliment it” – and in the current environment, that sort of thinking is being shelved by muppets wanting to take short-cuts.