Volunteering with Compass

Compass Recovery College Changed my Life.

This term Compass ran a new, co-produced workshop that looked at how people can live
well with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, led by Compass volunteer Callum Flynn. This
workshop began with sharing lived experiences to explore what bipolar is, how its
diagnosed and what living with bipolar may be like. In the second week the group shared
common triggers, early warning signs of an episode and tips and methods for keeping well
with bipolar. The participants discussed the challenges they face and with support of
other group members, found methods of coping with the challenges. Each participant was
provided a wellness plan to take away to put what they have learnt into practice.

At Compass we are driven by co-production, so we are always looking to work alongside
people who bring enthusiasm, skills and experiences to help us to get it right. Here,
Callum tells us a little but about how Compass has impacted his recovery journey
“Five years ago, I had just been sectioned under the mental health act. After my stay at
Prospect Park hospital, I was referred to Compass Recovery College. With the support of
the fantastic team there I began my journey to recovery.

Over the next 12 months I took part in every course I could possibly attend and took every
opportunity to improve my wellbeing and understand my bipolar diagnosis. I found the
peer support to be extremely beneficial to my journey and I stand where I am today
thanks to the support of all those I interacted with throughout my journey. Since my time
as a participant I have strongly advocated for the recovery college and spread the word as
best I can, even encouraging others to enroll or volunteer.

When the pandemic began, I heard the Recovery College was having to move online. I
knew at this point I could lend my skills to the team to help support that transition. After
initially helping with the social quiz, I soon began to volunteer myself for more things. I
soon learned the lightbulb moment inducing workshop for me had unfortunately stopped
running. This saddened me as this workshop alone had done so much for my own journey.
After discussing with the team, it was decided to run this workshop again with myself as
the lead. This for me was possibly my best moment within my journey, coming full circle
to now support others who are facing the same difficulties as myself. Now a week on from
delivering the course, I could not be happier. Knowing the impact I have had on people’s
lives has brought me unprecedented joy. Helping others is my passion, and that is why I
volunteer with compass”.

If you are interested in volunteering with Compass, then you can talk to us on 0118 937
3945 or drop us an email at compass.opportunities@reading.gov.uk