Spotlight On Jim Watson
Jim spent his career nursing within various mental health roles. He retired 9 years ago, and immediately began volunteering with Mental Health Advocacy Project!
He is the treasurer for the Management Committee and within his voluntary role; one of his main tasks is to bring medical students and service users together to discuss the service users' mental health journey.
Jim was approached by West Lothian Council's Advice Shop to deliver some Mental Health Awareness training to Advice Shop volunteers. He brought along one of the service users from the Mental Health Advocacy and the training was well received.
Following on from this, Jim attended a recruitment fair as he was keen to find out about further volunteering opportunities. He met the Volunteer Development Worker for Macmillan@West Lothian and as he had been touched by cancer within his family, he decided he would like to give something back to Macmillan for the care given to his sister in the later stages of her illness. Jim's mum, brother-in-law and sister all died from cancer.
This was a new service in West Lothian and Jim went through the recruitment process and was recruited and trained as an Information & Support Volunteer. He said that he felt the training offered was excellent and that the on-going training is extremely valuable. He started in May 2016 and has never looked back. He is always first to offer assistance; attending conferences, covering sickness/holidays, delivering training and helping in many in other ways.
Jim felt that experience gained in his employment and training offered within his volunteering role with Macmillan have helped him to become an excellent listener when dealing with customers seeking information/support at the Information hubs. People come along for different reasons but mainly to find out about benefits available, what support is available in the area and for many, to have a cuppa and a chat.
In his spare time Jim enjoys walking, cross country skiing and attending the gym. He also enjoys going on holiday but still manages to fit in 8 to 10 hours voluntary work every week between Macmillan@West Lothian and Mental Health Advocacy.
Jim would definitely recommend volunteering. He enjoys building positive relationships with services users and knowing that he has had the opportunity to help someone who is going through difficult circumstances.