Teresa’s story

Getting started

Teresa gave up working for the NHS in 2021, due to facing overwhelming challenges caring for her adult daughter (who is learning disabled) during the Covid pandemic, and also because she was retraining to pursue a new avenue outside of clerical work.

Being a carer can be both physically and emotionally demanding so I knew I would need another social outlet to give me some sense of myself away from my daughter’s needs.
I met Jo at a meeting for the Friends of High Hazels Park and I enquired about volunteering with her organisation. She put me in touch with DWB’s Volunteer Coordinator – and the rest is history.


As a volunteer, Teresa has mainly helped with the Monday morning health walk in High Hazels Park.  It’s especially useful if we have someone new to the walk, because often they can feel a bit anxious turning up for the first time, and having volunteers to help them settle in gives the staff a bit more support. 

Teresa has also assisted with other adhoc events such as HAF sessions, making food parcels and supporting some sports events at EIS, and she has expressed an interest in doing some desk work in the near future.

How it felt

I often feel like I don’t do much, but I realise for the people who attend, it’s nice for them to see a regular friendly face and have a chat. 


Teresa says that volunteering with Darnall Well Being gives her some focus to the week and it’s wonderful to feel included and useful. She says that it gives her a sense of purpose, especially when she first finished working.  It also kick starts her week and provides some structure to work from.

I also have  a new set of people to socialise with and it stops me becoming isolated at home.  This is hugely important to me, because I recognise within myself that my anxiety increases the more I stay at home.  I really enjoy the feeling that I can at least make a bit of difference by supporting others and, at the same time, I also receive some support in return.  For me, volunteering is definitely a two way thing, and you get out of it as much as you give.  I find that hugely satisfying.


Teresa has done some related training, such as ‘Mindfulness in Nature’, learning about looking at our environment in a different, more purposeful way. She finds that events like these push her out of her comfort zone at bit and help to keep her mind fresh.

circle of hands holding natural objects
Mindfulness training in High Hazels Park

Speaking at DWB AGM

Woman standing at a lectern, speaking

Teresa speaking at our AGM, October 2022

Along with other volunteers, in October 2022 Teresa was asked if she would give a short speech at our Annual General Meeting, to share her personal ‘volunteer journey’.  She had a two minute slot to speak in front of around 80 to 100 people, and says she can’t deny that her knees felt a bit wobbly.  But she also knew she was amongst friends who had her back, and that they were with her all the way. 

That’s one of the things that struck me about DWB is how supportive and nurturing they are towards all their staff and volunteers. They took time to help us all prepare and rehearse our words, but never put us under any pressure.


Looking to the future

Teresa found speaking at the AGM a huge boost to her confidence.  By this time, she had also become a casual employee at DWB, by becoming a support worker for the weekly activities. This allowed her to dip her toe back into employment, which continued to stretch and develop her skills.  She was also attending further training courses, such as Emergency First Aid at Work & Mental Health First Aider training.

My confidence has grown from strength to strength, and although I continue to volunteer, I have given up the casual work to pursue a dream of my own and have become self employed, taking on premises at the Community Stadium.  I still get a huge amount of satisfaction out of my volunteering work, even though my time commitments are changing and I know I’m not always able do as much as I used to do.

Instead, I am hoping to support DWB in a slightly different way and I am now in the process of applying for a Trustee position.