Building Confidence through Volunteering – Case Study

Jennifer is a 35-year-old woman that lives with anxiety and depression. She finds it difficult to meet new people and lacks confidence, especially in social situations. As a consequence, Jennifer is unemployed and feels isolated.    

During Diversity week in September 2017, Fife Centre for Equalities(FCE) hosted a family fun day at the High Valleyfield Social Club. The catering for the event was provided by the volunteer-run community café, the Canary Canteen.

FCE had supported the development of the canteen, ensuring that it was both physically and financially accessible.

During the event Jennifer approached FCE and explained that she suffered from anxiety and depression and found it difficult to use local services as she felt they did not meet her needs nor did she want to become dependent on services.  Jennifer told us that she became sceptical of many services because of previous negative experiences.

We talked about the benefits of a community café and how it’s there to enable people in the community coming together in a relaxed setting and build up their confidence and social networks.

Towards the end of the event Jennifer asked if she could volunteer for the canteen and the volunteers welcomed her offer.

Jennifer has been volunteering for the Canteen since then and she states that:

“I like helping at the canteen to get out of the house for a few hours and also give back to the community. It has helped build my confidence and meet new people in the area. I am now looking into going to college for training as a paramedic and will continue to volunteer for the canteen for as long as I can”.