Charity appeals for volunteers as it sees increase in demand

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A CHARITY which helps mental health sufferers back into work is pleading for help after demand for its service rocketed.

Bury St Edmunds-based Workwise has seen a 47 per cent increase in demand on its service in the last three months.

The surge has left it struggling to cope and Val Beresford, chief executive, said it was now ‘desperate’ for help.

“We are now looking towards an 80 per cent capacity in our workshops and training sites and while we have part-time staff supervising, that is no longer enough and we must get people in quickly,” she said.

Workwise helps people with mental health issues to ‘re-skill’ and find their way back into work or gain qualifications.

Service users’ mental health issues include depression and other long-term conditions.

Volunteers are especially needed in Workwise’s woodwork and textiles departments.

Ms Beresford said training gave trainees more than just skills.

“As well as providing a pathway to more advance training, the introductory sessions will help our trainees to build confidence and self-worth by learning transferable skills allowing them to live more independent and fulfilled lives.

“Ideally, we would like potential volunteers to commit to at least one full day a week.

“We would also like people who could help out as a technician, looking after stock and tools,” she said.

To volunteer, call 01284 755261 or email

Increased demand for the charity’s special Jubilee T-shirts has put further pressure on the workshop.

Ms Beresford said sales of the T-shirts – which received Crown copyright permission – had been ‘very good’.

School pupils are being encouraged to wear the T-shirts during this year’s celebrations, with money raised going back into Workwise’s schemes.