How volunteering at CPFT helped Hannah transform her life

She's gone from one hour-a-week at the Trust to being a member of staff

How volunteering at CPFT helped Hannah transform her life
12 June 2017

How volunteering at CPFT helped Hannah transform her life

A member of staff at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust has told how volunteering helped transform her life.

Hannah Touhey (above right) began volunteering at the Trust in 2013 after a year of severe mental illness while at university.

Although she had graduated and was being treated for bipolar disorder, she was looking for a way to continue her recovery.

Hannah said: “I had gone from being a straight-A student with a host of meaningless school awards to someone who struggled to read a magazine or make eye contact with a cashier.

“I decided volunteering would be a good place to start as it would provide me with flexibility and an opportunity to build on a CV that was starting to look worryingly barren.”

CPFT currently has more than more than 150 people who regularly give up their time to support a wide variety of teams. Hannah joined the Voluntary Services Team – which looks after all the Trust’s volunteers – and started by doing just an hour a week.

She said: “It was only an hour and the support I actually offered was probably minimal but for me coming in and talking to people, and having a purpose, was hugely meaningful.”

Over time Hannah’s confidence grew and so did the number of hours she was volunteering before she became a paid member of staff with the Trust in 2016.

In a blog on the CPFT website to coincide with National Volunteers’ Week, Hannah said: “I wore my CPFT identity badge like it was a badge of honour, which I guess in some ways for me it was.

“The transition from volunteering to paid employment is not necessary for everyone’s recovery but for me it felt like an important step towards living a life that was not dominated by my mental health.

“Being involved in something I feel passionate about is important to me not just because of its benefits to the Trust and community but because it is exactly what I would have done had I not become unwell.”

CPFT provides community care, mental health, learning disability and social care services. It has nearly 200 teams based across more than 50 locations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Jane Schultz, Voluntary Services Manager, (above left) said: “Hannah’s story is an inspirational one and I am so pleased how volunteering has helped her.

“People want to give their time to help us for many different reasons, and they bring many different skills to the Trust. Certain teams, for example our Dementia Carers’ Support Service, our chaplaincy teams or our Darwin Nurseries and Farm Shop, in Newmarket Road, Cambridge, couldn’t do without volunteers. There are an enormous range of roles they fulfil.

“They also create a link between our work and the local community, and especially with our mental health work that can go a long way to helping reduce stigma.”

To find out more about volunteering at CPFT visit the Trust’s website –


For more information please contact:

Andy Burrows
Media and Marketing Manager
T 07893 340795


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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