Mental Health Matters: Nic Goddard

Hugh Asher in his special 'sit spot'. NO F04 HughAsherSitSpot
Ewen's Room volunteer coordinator Hugh Asher in his special 'sit spot'.

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We all know that doing something for others has the added benefit of making us feel good.

Whether it is seeing someone’s face when they unwrap the perfect present from you, the inner glow from a random act of kindness, the feel-good feeling from donating to charity or the knowledge that you have helped others with your time, your ideas or your actions through volunteering.

Doing something good for others also does us good – it’s a win:win situation.

There has been a huge upsurge in the numbers of people volunteering over the pandemic. One of the positives that people have taken from the uncertainty and tumultuousness of the last 18 months has been the restoration of community spirit, helping our neighbours and looking out for other people.

There have also been many more of us finding that we have accepted help or
support from others.

As the world begins to open back up again and some of the volunteering opportunities that were specific to lockdown cease to be so necessary you may be looking for other ways to help.

Research shows that helping others is so beneficial for our own wellbeing in connecting with other people, as well as giving us a sense of purpose and self worth. There are so many ways to get involved in volunteering – from informal offers to pick up something from the shops for a neighbour, to spending time with people who are lonely or socially isolated.

You will best know yourself how you are able to offer help. If you have a skill or talent in crafts, languages or music why not offer to share it by teaching others? There are often calls for donated knitted or baked items to local organisations or opportunities for volunteer drivers, dog walkers or other such support services.

Another option is to gain some news skills as part of your way of helping others. Local mental health and wellbeing charity Ewen’s Room offers free training for volunteers on their helpline, text line and telephone befriending services. This includes useful skills such as active listening, building rapport and showing empathy.

Ewen’s Room Volunteer Co-ordinator Hugh Asher explains: ‘You don’t need any formal
qualifications or experience to volunteer with us as we offer full training and support.

‘If you are a good listener and are able to offer your time then this might be a good way to help others.’

Hugh is running a volunteer induction session via Zoom on August 24 from 6.30-8pm where you can find out more about what volunteering would involve. You can get more information by contacting Hugh by email

For other voluntary opportunities you can contact Voluntary Action Lochaber and join the 3,000 plus people in the area who get involved in making our community a supportive, inclusive and rewarding place to live –