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Joel’s reward for his kindness and compassion

Posted: 21 April 2023

A West Nottinghamshire College health and social care student who dedicates his time to helping veterans and elderly people with cleaning and offering them support has been recognised with an award.

Joel Bailey, 18, spends his Thursdays every week volunteering at Jigsaw, a mental health charity aimed at helping people with hoarding issues and other mental health problems.

The selfless teen, who is studying on the Advanced Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care, has spent the last two years volunteering for care homes and a mental health charity to help people suffering with their mental health by lending an ear to listen and offering support to help them in their homes.

Joel has built up a shining reputation within the community, and friendships with a lot of the people who attend a weekly group in Mansfield. He has now been selected as the winner of the Bringing People Together Award 2023.

The award forms part of the ‘Live Our Best Life’ awards, which were launched by Nottinghamshire Police in 2021 to shine a light on inspirational young people and their amazing achievements throughout the county.

 

Joel said: “I was offered a placement through college with Jigsaw in Mansfield and I was immediately interested. I never say no to a challenge, so I thought I would go and give this a try. The year before I’d worked in a care home and I really enjoyed it, so I knew that working alongside people with mental health issues would be really rewarding. I ended up staying on at Jigsaw after my placement and have become a volunteer – I absolutely love it.

“The subject areas which I’ve learnt on my college course such as equality, people’s rights, human development and life stages has really helped me to interact with the people we go and help. Everyone who we visit in their homes has a right to say yes or no to us intervening, so this is very important to understand. Also, to recognise that as people get older, they may find physical tasks such as cleaning a lot harder, so we understand that this could be one of the reasons people get into difficulties with their home cleanliness.

“Volunteering isn’t a job for me, it doesn’t feel like something I have to do, I just really enjoy it and it’s more of a passion. I will use my time even when I’ve got days off to come in and help out where I can.

“You’re also giving people a chance to speak about their feelings because nowadays in today’s society especially with the older generation people don’t want to talk about their feelings and it’s good to try and prompt them to speak. I feel happy that they’ve spoken to me and if I can help I always will.

“I love working at Jigsaw and volunteering because it doesn’t feel like a job and when I’m here it brings a lot of positivity to me because when I can see the difference that we all make in people’s lives it brings you a lot of happiness.”

Joel is hoping to go into the army after he finishes his course and is well on his way after passing his fitness test.

But helping people comes naturally to Joel and working with elderly people, veterans and those who attend the sessions is what makes him an asset to the team and his manager.

Head of Jigsaw, Alison Waring, explained how the mental health charity specialises in helping those with a hoarding addiction and how with Joel’s help they are really making inroads within the community and building up lasting relationships.

Alison said: “I’ve had many students over the years, but Joel is a natural. He’s the best student I’ve ever had, he sets out at 6am to come to a session and even comes in school holidays and goes above and beyond. He’s so natural with people with mental health conditions and is so caring and non-judgemental - I can’t say enough good things about him.

“I think it’s important to give people a chance in the world of mental health and working in the community to experience what people are like and how they can make a positive contribution to their lives. A lot of my clients are older, and they love working with younger people.

“He really deserves this award and the recognition, this is just the future for him, he’s brilliant.”

Head of health, education and service industries, Sally Pinion said: “Joel has completed two placements as part his health and social care qualification at West Notts College. On both he has gone above and beyond to support the service users and make a different to their lives.

“Last December he organised a food bank in the college to enable service users to have some additional items over the Christmas period as he wanted them to have the best Christmas possible. Joel is committed to improving the lives of others and the health and social care team are very proud of his achievement.”

Youth Outreach worker Romel Davis, founder of the Live Our Best Life Awards said: “There are not many people like Joel at his age who are giving up their school holidays and time to help others.

“He is an inspiration to everyone not only his age but older too. I’ve seen him interacting with the adults who have attended the sessions and how much they appreciate him and how proud they are of him for winning this award.

“The work he does and his dedication to helping people in the community is amazing. He is a role model to everyone, and he is incredibly deserving of this award and all of the recognition he receives. We need more people like Joel in the world and I hope he knows how proud everyone is of him and how many lives he has helped change for the better.”

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