Hi, I’m Laura and I have been a volunteer with the young people's services since 2013.

I heard about the Buddy service while researching services available to young people in Coventry, as part of my role as a youth worker for another youth group in the city. I was fortunate to have some time available to volunteer while studying for my MSc in Psychology and as I felt the Buddy Service is such a great opportunity for young people, it was something I wanted to be a part of too.

My experience of being paired as a buddy with two young people has been brilliant. We met on an almost weekly basis and I was able to help them take part in various new activities that they had not tried out before. It has been great to see the young people develop their social skills and confidence over the time we have worked together but also I know that I gained much more from volunteering than I could ever have put into it too!

As a young person myself I had been supported by great youth workers and to be able to give back somehow through being a buddy to the young people, was a great opportunity.

Being a volunteer with Coventry & Warwickshire Mind has helped me gain valuable experience working with young people - it is one of the areas of my CV that potential employers have been most interested in. Helping the young people problem solve and meet new challenges in life has helped me be able to work more creatively and be more adaptable in my everyday life, sometimes when working with young people it’s best to expect the unexpected! As well as facing my own fear of heights when we spent an afternoon rock climbing and abseiling!!

Anyone thinking about volunteering, especially if interested in working with young people, the Buddy Service would not only give you great experience, it will enable young people within the service to develop their confidence, social skills and experience for the future and for me there really is no greater privilege than being able to be a part of that journey too.