Mel, Stevie and Sarah smiling outside the TakeTen building

TakeTen: Mel’s Volunteer Day

Community’s important, isn’t it?

We reckon so, anyway. We’re committed to helping out in our local area however we can. Whether that’s supporting local businesses, volunteering for local charities, or just giving our neighbours a cup of sugar, we want to be seen as a force for good in our community. We want to help.

At Vital we have a volunteering initiative – we get a couple of volunteer days a year. We do something productive and help out a local charity, or do something useful in the local community. A few weeks back, Mel, our marketing co-ordinator, came across a local company called TakeTen on Facebook. She looked into them, found out what they do, and then immediately went about arranging a volunteer day.

Mel standing with Stevie and Sarah on her volunteer day
Mel, Stevie and Sarah

TakeTen: Mental Health & Suicide Prevention CIC

Launched by Stevie Oliver in 2018, TakeTen are a non-profit charity providing crisis support to people struggling with mental health issues. They’re an invaluable service. As incredible as our NHS is, it’s hugely underfunded and massively overworked. Mel’s pretty open about her struggles with mental health, and she’s needed crisis support in the past. She found it lacking to say the least, so she knows the importance of companies like TakeTen.

TakeTen offer first responder crisis support. They run a crisis support hotline and are always ready to help anyone going through a crisis. That’s not all, though – they also hold mental health awareness sessions, youth work, peer support groups, addiction advice and community workshops, as well as loads of other useful stuff. I won’t list them all and bombard you in the middle of this blog, but you can find a full list on their projects page.

I’ll just give you a quick example of the incredible work they do in the community. I went on TakeTen’s Facebook page and only a few days ago an old lady with Alzheimer’s went missing in the local area. It’s winter; it’s dark and it’s very cold. Obviously this lady was at risk. Stevie and the TakeTen team jumped into action and immediately launched a search party and walked for miles to help find her. The lady was found and is now at home safe.

They’re a wonderful charity that do wonderful work in the local community. If you fancy volunteering or donating yourself, visit their site and drop them a message! I know they’d appreciate it.

Volunteer Day

Onto Mel’s volunteer day. When Mel arrived, she was greeted by Stevie and Sarah, TakeTen’s Lead Support. Things were a bit hectic.

They’d been handed a one week eviction notice from their building. They had no electric, no internet, and the room was heated by a single gas heater. This was in November, too, by the way. Wasn’t exactly the perfect start to Mel’s volunteer day. Alongside the pressure of delivering their services, they found themselves having to scramble around trying to find a new workspace. Everything was up in the air.

But, you know what? They just rolled their sleeves up and carried on. Didn’t panic, didn’t flap, didn’t complain. They knew people were relying on them. They hooked their computer up to an old-school dongle, cracked out an old torch, and got their heads down.

Mel, as I’ve already mentioned, is our social media co-ordinator. She’s an expert at all things tech-y. That’s what she was helping TakeTen with – their online presence. She came up with an engagement-boosting social media plan and she made them a guide to help any potential donors understand what TakeTen are all about. Hopefully it’ll encourage more people to get involved and help out!

‘Cos there are no two ways about it – TakeTen’s biggest struggle is funding. They do their own fundraisers and organise charity events, but they’ve got a small staff and rely heavily on donations and volunteers. With the cost of living crisis, the chances are that more and more people are going to find themselves struggling, and the need for organisations like TakeTen is only going to get bigger.

What Vital can do

If you’re struggling with mental health, it’s really important to have a support system in place. One thing Mel realised as she was volunteering was that Vital Documents offer a service that could really help – LPAs.

Money management is difficult for a lot of people, and it can be a lot harder if you’re struggling with mental health. Someone with bipolar disorder, for example, might find themselves going on spending sprees during episodes. When that happens, reason loses out to impulse and then, through no fault of their own, they could find themselves in debt.

One of the best ways to guard against this is to set up a financial LPA. With a financial LPA, you give control of your finances to someone that you trust. You choose what areas of your finances they can manage for you and when they’re able to do so – you’re in control of when they can step in. If you’re ever in a situation where your finances are at risk they could freeze your cards to protect you.

Or, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, you might find talking to people difficult. With a financial LPA, you can name someone to speak to your bank or any financial companies you’re involved with on your behalf.

If you have issues with mental health and struggle with money management it’s definitely worth looking into! If you want to learn more about how an LPA could help, have a read of our blog. If you’re wanting to set an LPA up, just visit our site.

In the end, Mel had a proper successful day volunteering, even if she had to do it by torch and candlelight. If anything, the disastrous situation she walked into showed her how impressive the work ethic of the TakeTen team is. Since her volunteer day, Mel’s started volunteering at TakeTen in her own spare time.

If you struggle with mental health issues, reach out. Reach out to your loved ones, reach out to your friends, reach out to organisations like TakeTen. I guarantee there’s someone out there who cares, no matter how much you might think otherwise. Don’t suffer in silence – people care about you!

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Declan Ramsden
Declan Ramsden

Declan is a Content Creator at Vital Documents! He studied English Literature for 4 years before joining the company. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to retro music and reading classic novels – particularly Charles Dickens!

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