Feeling Strong are another one of this year’s Youth Friendly Organisation finalists in the 2019 Youth Volunteering Awards. Feeling Strong is a relatively new local charity with the aim to improve the lives of young people facing mental health and wellbeing challenges. It is a unique project in that it is a completely youth-led organisation – all volunteers and almost all members of staff and the board are young people. Therefore, every opportunity at Feeling Strong is designed with youth in mind.

Volunteers at Feeling Strong can take part in a range of activities suited to their preferences, skills or experience. There are ‘General Volunteers’ who carry out activities including peer support, fundraising, supporting events, service development, taking part in policy consultations and fun team building activities. It includes ‘Project Volunteers’ who can sign on to support a specific long-term project – for example in sports, creative arts and game development. And finally, the organisation has opportunities as ‘Operations Volunteers’ who take responsibility for an area of the organisation’s day-to-day work, such as events, digital, delivery and campaigns.

Feeling Strong also provides individual support for training and personal development, and makes many adjustments for mental health and well-being challenges. This has included facilitating one-to-one training that is normally delivered in groups, supporting people in training by sending someone along with them, and encouraging people to find training opportunities that meet their specific needs. Many volunteers have taken part in ASIST Suicide Prevention Training, Mental Health First Aid Training and workshops on specific topics from care-experience and bid-writing, to project management. They also aim to enhance their volunteers’ experience by delivering the Saltire Awards scheme, hosting their own annual celebration night and regularly spotlighting their volunteers through social media and press coverage.

We would like to wish Feeling Strong good luck in the Youth Friendly Organisation category!