Social, Emotional and Mental Health Support at ARK – Therapeutic Volunteering 

Since initially openings it’s gates, ARK has evolved into and relaxed, friendly environment that has provided a safe therapeutic environment for people of all ages and varying needs, who have their own wishes for their future. One of the easiest ways this has been described is “it gives people the opportunity to slow things down, connect with themselves and then connect with others”.
To help with this and make people feel comfortable in starting to attend ARK, we have set up a project called ‘Therapeutic Volunteering’, whereby we support people with varying needs from mental ill health, to those that are socially isolated or just lacking in confidence. This results in people spending time at ARK, with some additional support, until they feel in a position to be able to support others or they wish to move onto other things, ie education, training, employment or just getting out into their local community.
During someone’s time at ARK, they choose to engage in the many different daily activities, which include Horticulture (growing vegetables, fruits and flowers), to Nature and the outdoor environment, Rural Arts and Crafts (felting, willow weaving and more..), Cooking (we help each other to cook lunch for everyone that is onsite each day), Site Maintenance; we also support people to identify and pursue their own projects.
Under this scheme, ARK has supported many people, in their own time, to connect with peers, improve their confidence, to move on in life, which have included volunteering at ARK and supporting others, training and employment.
A few words from a few of our therapeutic volunteers;
“The wonderful staff at ARK and the camaraderie of my fellow attendees. I loved the mutual support of those regaining their health and the fun and laughter we shared.”
“My confidence has increased and feel my mental health has improved also.”
“I just thought I’d send a massive message of appreciation. Give yourself some credit for everything that you do. You change lives. What you offer at The Ark outlived all of my expectations.”