Making a change

Following on from last year’s successful volunteer programme where UCL student volunteers collected good news stories in Hounslow from people with learning disabilities, this year we asked students to create health plans for people with mental health support needs.

Here Lilu, Business Development Partner talks to us about what the programme will entail…

“During the next two weeks we have six students from the University College London (UCL) who are volunteering as part of the UCL Global Citizenship Programme. This is a volunteer programme that matches students to placements enabling them to learn skills and give something back.

Life expectancy rates among people with serious mental illness are 10-20 years lower than the average population so the focus of the project is to improve the health of people we support with serious mental illness. This year’s project sees volunteers working directly with people we support in Southwark to understand their physical health, the effects of prescribed medication and their likes and dislikes in terms of physical activity.

People and their support teams are currently collecting food diaries and getting ready to take part. Volunteers will then use this information to co-produce a health plan that is tailored to the needs of the person and fits them individually. At the end, people will receive health plans along with ideas for healthy eating. During the induction day, students will be taught motivational interviewing techniques by the Public Health Department of Southwark and will take part in a workshop looking at health behaviour models. Students will have the chance to learn further motivational tips from a Personal Trainer and Life Coach along with expert advice on how to motivate people with serious mental illness. They will also be working together as a team with staff, external professionals and, of course, with people we support.

We are looking forward to seeing and hearing about all the work that happens during the project and how it makes a difference to the support we provide.”


Lilu Wheeler

Lilu Wheeler

Business Development Partner

Lilu works with teams across Certitude, supporting the development of key projects and new opportunities.