Name: Ann-Marie Steel.

Job title: Hug A Mug project manager and youth mental health first aid trainer.

Age: 52.

Where are you from? I was born in Newcastle and lived there until I got married in 1990. I have lived in West Cumbria since 1992.

Where do you live now? I live just outside Cockermouth, in the Lorton valley, with my husband, children, dog and loads of hens!

Where do you work? I work for a Lottery-funded organisation called Ewanrigg Local Trust in Maryport.

Ewanrigg Local Trust is a voluntary organisation made up of people who live and work in Ewanrigg and who want to ensure that Ewanrigg is a great place to live – for everybody!

How long have you done this job? I started working with the organisation in November 2015 managing volunteering, but Hug A Mug started in October 2017 after a year of research, discussions with the local GP surgery, connecting with local businesses and planning and training volunteers from the local community and businesses that wanted to be involved.

Take us through a typical day: So far I haven’t had a typical day and I don’t think ever will.

The first important job is to get the kettle on and the coffee made – the smell is divine coming through the door.

We get the room set up with information booklets and get the tablets online.

We never know who will be coming into Hug A Mug and what they may want to talk about or challenges they have, so we have to be ready.

We get referrals from GPs, other community groups and the HAWC team, and members of the public sometimes just pop up to see what’s going on and have a free hot drink.

We play dominoes, cards, colour in – whatever will help get the clients relaxed and able to talk. Then using our resources and skills, we signpost on if applicable.

Sometimes we just try and put the world to right through a good old natter. We have volunteers in every day on a rota basis.

They have all been fully trained with excellent active communication skills and mental health awareness.

Another part of the role is to deliver youth mental health first aid training. This is a two-day course.

Youth MHFA is the help given to a young person experiencing a mental health issue before professional help is obtained.

It helps raise awareness of mental health in the community while promoting the recovery of good mental health.

Youth MHFA does not teach people to be therapists but it does give people the tools to recognise the symptoms of mental health issues, intervene early to provide initial help and reassurance, guide a young person to access appropriate professional support for a faster recovery, and prevent issues arising by building a supportive culture.

What do you like most about your job? I love the variety. I go to work with a “sort of plan” for the day but, depending on the clients, my plan sometimes changes.

I particularly enjoy delivering the mental health training and seeing the huge benefits that people are getting out of it.

I have met so many fantastic residents and associated groups within the community, who really do care about their family, friends and town.

Why did you want to do this job? Many people just don’t know who to turn to for help sometimes and I want to be able to help them and the volunteers at Hug A Mug to make a difference to Maryport.

I have been involved in volunteering for many years and I have enjoyed seeing the sense of achievement and pride that volunteers have, after being involved.

They have made new friends, learn lifelong skills and developed job opportunities.

What jobs have you previously done? I am a qualified registered general nurse and sick children’s nurse, but haven’t worked within the NHS for about 13 years. I am a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor for the NCT and I am Solway division commissioner for Girlguiding.

I am also chair of governors for Eaglesfield Paddle Academy.

What qualifications or experience do you need to be involved? A willingness to listen to clients and be able to offer signposting help. Full training will be given and you will be fully supported as a volunteer.

What is the typical salary for this job? I work 28 hours per week. And my annual salary is £14,000.

Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? I would recommend everyone, whatever age, to be involved in volunteering of some kind. You pick up so many skills that can be transferable for many roles.

Learning communication skills can be of benefit in whatever job you do and are so essential even in ordinary family life.