In this conversation CAPS volunteer Tamzin tells us about the ways in which she has been involved in CAPS as a member of the Minority Ethnic collective advocacy group.
Why did you decide to volunteer with CAPS?
I was actually looking at CAPS more for stuff that I was needing support with myself. That was when I found out that you could volunteer with CAPS, it wasn’t just to try and get help for yourself. So that’s when I decided it looks interesting I’m going to try this and see what it’s like. I saw the Ethnic Minority group. Before that I’d never seen any volunteering things just for ethnic minorities. So that made me, think, oh I’d like to try this.
How are you involved with CAPS?
At the moment I just do the minority ethnic collective advocacy group and we work on the toolkits. We designed the toolkits for people to learn more about mental health in ethnic minorities and how to understand and treat them. The toolkits have lots of little explanations in them. Of things like colourism and racism and micro-aggressions.
We’ve had some workers from CAPS coming and other third sector organisations. And occasionally I think we’ve had NHS or council people. It’s for organisations who work with ethnic minorities or who want to work with ethnic minorities. We help them understand why they’re not getting any engagement. And it’s basically just trying to educate them.
What is it like to be a volunteer with CAPS?
I definitely like it because I haven’t really volunteered much before mainly because I’ve been too scared of it. Because when I’ve looked at volunteering in the past it seems like a lot of work but not very much support.
And I’ve definitely found that volunteering with CAPS is quite good in that you can volunteer but you have Mohasin there supporting you. For me I definitely need support to volunteer. And it really helps to have someone who does that kind of main stuff and helps you. I’m really isolated so being able to do this online has meant that I interact with more people. So it’s opened up that for me and online volunteering has been really important to me. I definitely say it’s been fun, I really enjoyed putting together the workshops and presenting them. But it’s also been fun having all of them to sit with and chat to every two weeks.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering with CAPS?
I would definitely say to do it or try it out. I went to a few other groups before settling on the ethnic minority group. It’s very clear that if you go and if you don’t like it or just don’t have the time, you can just walk away no questions asked. You’re not made to feel guilty. CAPS is very much about you and about your volunteering experience. It’s a lot more relaxed and less scary than some other volunteering things I’ve seen. It’s easy to get involved with, it’s also not threatening. CAPS is easy to stay with because you’re not made to do really difficult things out of your comfort zone or anything.
At the minute I am having to cut back on things I’m doing because I’m doing too much. But CAPS is one of the things that I’m definitely sticking with because I enjoy it and I look forward to doing it.
3 words to describe your experience of volunteering with CAPS?
Fun, easy and enjoyable!