Scotty is busy telling me about the incredible people he met on Hestia’s Healthy Walks programme. “You had some wonderful conversations – one lady had been a contortionist!” While he may not have made it into the circus, spend five minutes with Scotty and it’s clear he has just as many stories to share.

Scotty began his journey as a Service User over nine years ago during this time he found himself in all kinds of roles since then. From representing Hestia on interview panels for new employees and at its 40th anniversary party in the House of Lords to giving speeches to secure funding, Scotty has grown alongside the organisation. Yet his main passion remains the outdoors.

“It was only having a spell of ill health myself that made me sit down and start thinking about things,” he says. “I decided to do the walking groups because I suffer from depression.” Fresh air, exercise and socialising are proven to aid mental wellbeing but becoming a volunteer comes with its own benefits too: “I loved it – I actually felt like I was doing something positive. It’s like self-help.” Scotty coordinated a weekly walk for service users in our Mental Health services.

One in four adults will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. Hestia works across 33 mental health services in London and supports over 2,400 people each year. Both employees and volunteers can attend a range of free workshops on providing mental health support.

“All the training I received at Hestia has broadened my mind and made me more patient and understanding of mental health needs,” he explains. In fact thanks to this skills development and Scotty’s natural compassion, he is now a Care Worker and doing a brilliant job! “I’ve built up quite a good rapport with my clients. I think I’m actually making quite a difference with one gentleman I am working with”.

You never know who you might meet or help (beyond yourself) at Hestia. “I had a fabulous time volunteering at Hestia” says Scotty. “I met some very different people and went to so many different, amazing places with them. I still want to join in when I can.”

Like all of our volunteers, Hestia will have you back to make more stories anytime Scotty!

Interviewed by Fiona Anderson, Volunteer Social Media Writer