Today, I volunteered at...

The Leeds Time to Change Experience at White Rose shopping centre.

I went to it with the member of staff who'd took me to the training afternoon for it so that helped because she knew what was going on. It was nice to have her too because it made me a bit more confident in talking to others knowing that I had someone there who I knew. We started off the shift handing event leaflets out near the entrances, I sussed out that it was best to bend down to the children's height and ask if they want their face painting for free because their parents would be pretty much obliged to take them! And then, while they were waiting in the queue, volunteers were chatting to the parents about mental health.
After a while, we joined the main area that Time to Change had taken over. It was in the centre of the shopping centre and made up of the pledge zone, the surgery, the creative zone and the sport zone. I looked after the pledging desk when one of the volunteers went on their break, I chatted with the children and parents in the face painting queue, got to watch the 3 minute play by a theatre group and played some games with children and the footballer from Leeds we had there. It was a really lovely event and I especially felt proud when I saw a young girl having a picture taken with her pledge; her vow to mental health. I think that if children who are old enough to understand, support it then we've more than done our job because it's laying the tracks for the next generation. If we can instil a sense of acceptance of mental health then the next generation might grow up with less stigma and discrimination.
Here are some pics of the event, you can find other photos on the Time to Change Twitter ( or their Facebook: 

 Rhino mascot


 me and Sanchez Payne
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