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Ed Boait, 36, is from Cheltenham and first started volunteering with ²gether at the beginning of August 2017.

His role of Assistant to Activities Coordinator sees him spending two hours a week on Willow Ward at Charlton Lane Hospital.

Recalling when he first decided to become a volunteer, Ed said: “I have my own experiences of being a service user and, if I’m being completely honest, I have a desire to become an advocate.

“Initially, I looked at the volunteering role as a stepping stone to achieving this. But I was also encouraged to become involved in this capacity by a former volunteer, who told me that it was very worthwhile.”

Ed explained his role of Assistant to Activities Coordinator: “I assist Jo, the ward’s Activities Coordinator. She’s brilliant; she is always on the ward.

“Mostly my volunteering role involves me simply sitting down and talking with the patients. I receive good feedback from many of them. They say they enjoy the opportunity to have a long, deep conversation on a one-to-one basis with somebody about the issues that matter to them.

“On occasion, I facilitate activities; playing draughts and dominoes with patients, or doing crosswords with them. I sometimes do a little bit of art with them too.”

Although Ed’s initial motive for becoming a volunteer centred around his desire to become an advocate, he says he has found volunteering with the Trust a really satisfying and enjoyable experience.

He added: “I enjoy my volunteering role because it makes me feel like I’m helping both the patients and the staff on the ward.

“The nurses often thank me, saying that my being there those two hours a week really helps them and makes life easier for all on the ward.”

For anyone thinking of volunteering, Ed says: “It’s a challenge at first, but it gets easier. It’s very rewarding and I feel like I’m giving something back. I would thoroughly recommend becoming a volunteer for ²gether.”

Find out more about volunteering with us here.