Summer, our Volunteer Coordinator, sat down with Kathryn to talk about volunteering with Changes.
Kathryn was first a member of Changes, and has now been volunteering for two years. First volunteering as a mend for good volunteer as part of our fundraising, and now as a peer support group facilitator.
Kathryn’s health has been affected by long covid, and her mobility is reduced. She facilitates one of our online groups, receiving, giving and sharing support from her own home, with others across Bristol.

We would love to thank each and every one of our volunteer team across our multiple services. Changes wouldn’t be able to happen without you.


“Hi, I’m Kathryn and I have been a facilitator for the Changes Bristol online support groups for 2 years now.  I joined Changes as a member several years ago and after having so much valuable support when I needed it, when I was approached about being a facilitator I had a think about it.  I was very nervous about it, would I be good enough?  Could I manage the commitment?  I didn’t want to let people down.  However, I was given lots of support and encouragement so decided to give it a go.

I love being a facilitator because even though many of the things shared in these groups are about difficulties and struggles that the members are experiencing, it is also really supportive, inspiring and uplifting to see the strength and kindness shown by every member.

The online groups were started during the covid lockdowns when no-one was able to meet in person, but they soon became a valuable asset when we realised how many more people we could reach. They are really accessible for people who are housebound or struggle with transport and those who don’t live in Bristol but have no local support.  It adds to the diversity and community of the groups and brings connection and inclusion to many people who may otherwise be missing these things.  I feel honoured and lucky to be a part of it.

My situation has changed dramatically over the last two years due to Covid.  I was previously an active and outgoing person who couldn’t sit still but since getting Long Covid I have been left with chronic fatigue and mobility issues meaning it is difficult for me to leave the house.  As an online facilitator I can continue to access the support groups from home and the members have been amazing and incredibly supportive helping me manage my feelings through this change.  Being a facilitator gives me purpose and has been a constant throughout this period and it feels good to still be able to help others in some way.

When I’m not facilitating I love appreciating my garden and the bird feeders and I love to craft.  I’m happy doing any kind of craft and like trying new things but my usual crafting of choice is crochet, cross stitch and sewing.  I make blankets, toys, pictures and clothes, whatever takes my fancy.  We have many crafters and creatives in the online groups which is great as we often share our current and completed projects, poems, paintings to uplift and inspire each other.

If anyone has read this and even has the slightest curiosity about facilitating an in person or online group I would highly recommend reaching out to the team.  It may seem a bit scary or overwhelming at first but the staff, facilitators and members are all so supportive you will not regret it.”

Here is some of Kathryns wonderful creations, including her hat in the picture above!

Thank you Kathryn for all you give to Changes and our members. Sharing with each other can help lighten your load, but also inspire and motivate others. Thank you to all our volunteers for your time, creativity and passion!

If you are interested in being a Changes volunteer, you can find out more here