To mark Volunteers' Week some of our amazing volunteers tell their stories about volunteering for London Friend. Here's Tom's story.
A year ago I made the huge decision of leaving my long-term job and wanted to see what else life could offer.
I knew that I didn't want to jump from one job into another so decided to volunteer at London Friend. What I didn't realise was how that decision would shape the year ahead.
From initially facilitating at social groups, staffing the helpline to becoming a keyworker at Antidote, it has been a satisfying year of discovery, not only about my capabilities but also to my understanding of people seeking help.
By working with people seeking help you realise that it is a position any one of us could find ourselves in. It is just down to circumstance and choices we make. There is no social standing that makes any of us immune from those situations.
By donating my time, I have learned a whole new set of skills that have enabled me to take a new path in my career. I am now in adult education, learning to become a counsellor and discovering the wonders of psychology.
When you meet a new client at London Friend you know, whatever has gone before, they are a new challenge and will enrich your knowledge and understanding.
The last year has been a great step towards defining my future career path and it's been a pleasure working with and learning from so many volunteers and clients.
I look forward to the next year and what that will bring!