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This Volunteers’ Week, we are celebrating all our volunteers, past and present, and saying a big thank you to them for giving us their time and skills.

As part of our celebrations, we are sharing some of our volunteers’ stories, in the hope that it will inspire others to get involved.

Here, we hear about Bornwell Machekanyanga’s volunteering journey with Leeds Mind.

“Bornwell volunteered with Leeds Mind as a befriender for around a year while studying at Leeds Beckett University” says Emily Jayes, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Leeds Mind.

Bornwell at his graduation ceremony

Emily continued: “He was studying for a BSc in Mental Health Nursing. Having previously worked in property, finance and administration, he decided to re-qualify as a mental health nurse once his three children had grown up and left home. Despite studying later in life than many, Bornwell graduated at 61 years old with a First Class Honours.

“Bornwell was one of the first volunteers I worked with in my role as Volunteer Co-ordinator. He had a passion and commitment for helping others and always did so with a smile on his face. It’s great to hear that he has progressed so well in his chosen career.”

Bornwell credits his time as a volunteer befriender having helped him realise his passion for working with and helping others, which ultimately led to him following his passion into a new career. Bornwell said: “You do an awesome job at Leeds Mind! I will always appreciate what you did for me and do for others!” He added that “it is never too late to pursue and achieve a professional career and desires of one’s heart, soul and mind”, and that he hopes his story can inspire others.

Read more about Bornwell’s career journey here:

If you’d like to take on the same volunteering role that Bornwell did, we currently have befriending opportunities available. You can volunteer anything from just one hour a week, and full training will be provided. Read more here:

Volunteering can help you:

  • Meet new people
  • Build confidence
  • Learn new skills
  • Boost your CV
  • Make friends
  • Contribute to the community
  • Help in our work towards better mental health for all

You can learn more about all the volunteering opportunities we have here: You can also contact Emily by emailing or calling 0113 305 5800.