A MENTAL health charity appeal for more volunteers to join its ranks to help with its waiting list of people in need.

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind (SWR Mind) helps up to 600 people every year with a range of mental health problems.

The charity is looking for reliable, supportive and understanding volunteers to support people in the community through its Side by Side project in the Ryedale area.

Natalie Miles, volunteer co-ordinator for SWR Mind, said: "We have service users in the area who have varied interests such as modern railways, places of historical interest, yoga, arts and crafts, cooking, dogs and football.

"For just a couple of hours a week you could help someone feel less isolated and boost their self-esteem."

SWR Mind currently has nine active volunteers in Ryedale who give social, emotional and practical support, as well as providing information and advocacy so people can lead fuller and more active lives.

Carol Stevens, 43, from Pickering, is a volunteer befriender with SWR Mind and says the role is hugely rewarding.

She said: "I like feeling like I'm helping someone. I enjoy seeing someone smile and gain in confidence.

"I visit and take out a lady in Norton who has anxiety, every two weeks for about three hours at a time."

Volunteers do not need any previous experience as SWR Mind offers full training, out of pocket expenses, group support and development sessions. It can also give employment or educational references.

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering with Scarborough Whitby and Ryedale Mind phone volunteer co-ordinator Natalie Miles on 01723 356562 for an informal chat or email her at natalie.miles@swrmind.org.uk

SWR Mind can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/swrmind1, follow them on Twitter @swrmind1 or log onto their swrmind.org.uk