Michael McGuire – Volunteer
I joined Six Circle in August 2021 and was warmly welcomed by the staff and service users. I had been out of employment for health reasons and was unable to return to my previous position. The opportunity to volunteer with Six Circle arose and I decided to take the offer.
Having never worked in the third sector before, I had no idea what to expect but was given assurance that my personality type and character would fit well with the group.
Coming from a petrochemical industry background, in which all positions are filled by experts who adhered to their specific skill sets, this was very different. The staff were moving from one task to the next seamlessly. This was multi-tasking on a grand scale. Tasks could be as diverse as clerical work, putting up shelves, preparing meals, painting and decorating, organising and leading a wide range of activities indoor and outdoor and what I soon came to understand was the most important… devoting time to actively listen, which I found was not as easy as it may sound!! The focus was always on what was best for the service users.
It was evident early on that the service users and staff had a close bond and a healthy positive attitude with each other. The range of age groups mixing well together was a very positive experience and in my opinion, quite unique.
Through conversation with our service users it was clear that attending Six Circle, participating in activities and meeting up with others was having a positive impact in their lives. I was able to work with our services users assisting in the completion of the Garden Hub, which we are all delighted with. The creation of the Garden Hub and the garden area is a testament to the ethos of Six Circle. From an idea to a completed functional hub and lovely garden. Input from staff and service users was sought and the best ideas utilised. I had several in-depth conversations with service users as we created this hub. Talking while painting and decorating seems to bring out the most unusual conversations and watching someone with low confidence step back and admire their work was very rewarding for me. The input of the service users was once again sought for the furnishing of the Gardening Hub and some items of furniture were kindly donated by them.
I think it is important to note that all of the above took place during pandemic restrictions, including sourcing indoor and outdoor activities, which was very challenging. Feedback I received from this period had a consistent message. Service users could “approach and speak in confidence with staff” and if they were in difficulty “their call would always be returned”. On a personal level, I benefited tremendously from my time with Six Circle. I regained lost confidence, learned new skills, recovered my work ethic, made new friends and decided I could return to employment. Their motto “In meeting the needs of others we meet the needs of ourselves” applied perfectly for me. It changed my life. I am now in employment in the third sector. I have no doubt without the superb staff and service users of Six Circle this would not have been possible.
Most important was the fun, let’s not forget the fun. We’ve all laughed and made the most of our time together through the most challenging of times.
Jamie – Service User Representative 2022 – 2023
When I joined PSC it was in middle of pandemic and I was in a bad way with my mental health. The staff helped me to work with others to combat loneliness and improve our mental health & wellbeing.
They also helped me apply and attend a barbering course at Perth UHI. And allowed me to utilise these my barbering skills to provide free haircuts to some of my peers.
PSC staff have provided a lot of support to service user including helping with bus timetables, taking us out and about in the local community and outside of Perth, and get involved with other groups/ events.
They have helped with making each other feeling part of a family instead of just a mental health group.
They are putting people on a better start when they leave the group to make a better life.
I want to thank the PSC staff, on behalf of myself and all those I represent, for doing more than they should to help people. It’s because they care about people’s future.
So a big thank you PSC.
Calum – Service User Representative 2022 – 2023
As a service user rep I have had the responsibility of providing a helping hand when needed and seeking and gaining feedback from all service users, raising any issues that may have occurred and taking this forward to the staff team.
Alongside Jamie, our other Rep, I have reported to the Management Board throughout the year, which I initially found challenging, particularly ensuring the feedback was an accurate reflection of information gained. However, as I grew into the role I found this less challenging as I got to know the service users better and they got to know me better this responsibility became easier. My input into Management Board meetings has helped to shape the future of the service user environment.
We have provided support to people inside and outside team sessions, utilising other days in the week for further activities that aim to give confidence to those involved. Using technology to communicate has helped us a lot in providing these extra meetings and this environment has fostered another element to our sense of community. It was highlighted at meetings that communication was key in our developmental strategy.
Approaching and gaining feedback from service users was a challenge for me, and adapting in this environment was crucial, for example, approaching service users directly or in smaller sub groups helped to gain insight and get feedback. Working alongside staff was therefore an important aspect of adaptation.
Service user A
“PSC supported me to improve my mental health. I feel loads more confident, I’ve made new friends and no longer feel as lonely. I have an inner happiness and a belief in myself I’ve never had before. I’ve got confidence to seek new challenges and feel like I am now just spreading my wings.”
Service user B
“PSC has made it good to learn different things from different people as some have great knowledge they shared. It makes me feel more wise listening to older folks.”
Service user C
“I can’t thank the staff enough for everything they have done for me. It has been another terrible year and they have been there for me. … I know I just have to phone and they will be there for me and help me any time of the day or night, whenever I need them….”