Richard’s Story

I started by volunteering a few minutes of my time with the Chelsea Theatre & Community Centre and now run a regular activity which I founded – Men’s Home – offering men on the World ‘s End estate and neighbouring area a non-judgemental space to meet and talk about their problems. I am proud of how we have brought people together, supported each other and built a stronger community.

As well as being a professional theatre space, the Centre hosts a whole range of activities – from exercise and dance classes to educational courses and family activities. Through active engagement and grassroots community action, the Centre empowers our residents to overcome the challenges they face. I have certainly felt empowered through my volunteer role as part of their Community Champions programme. In addition to chairing weekly meetings, I facilitate topics of discussion such as knife crime, family problems and financial pressures. The team is incredibly supportive and encouraging.

I have learnt that the more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering at The Chelsea Theatre & Community Centre has increased my self-confidence and, by doing good for others and the community, I have a real sense of accomplishment, pride and identity. It is fantastic meeting so many people from different backgrounds and I have developed skills through volunteering, including empathy.

Volunteering just a few hours a week and talking with people makes a huge difference to our lives – particularly our mental health. People have felt encouraged to come out of their shells and talk – reducing problems such as violence, debt and crime. Our community has benefited from increased cohesion. Volunteering can give anyone the opportunity to try something new, gain experience, develop skills, improve career prospects, build confidence and meet new people.

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