It’s good to volunteer with Catalyst

Catalyst Brent 05.16 (55 of 81)Volunteering gives something back to the local community and helps others. But it can also benefit the volunteer to develop their interests and maybe turn that into a job.

As part of Volunteer’s Week 2016 Catalyst is highlighting how three people who volunteered with the organisation benefited personally from the experience. Today we highlight research student and volunteer Joe Barnby, who is teaching young people on the Gener8 programme at the Unity Centre in Brent that you can control your mind to improve your attention and concentration

“We are making them aware of when their mind wanders and when they need to re-focus with an aim to improve their cognitive attention and concentration” says Joe.

The research project, a partnership between Catalyst Gateway and Birkbeck College, involves teaching 22 schoolchildren how to interact and play with Neurofeedback technology. The young people are ‘connected’ to a computer as they complete a series of on-screen games. The kids love the mind games says Joe. “Being ‘plugged in’ and able to control something on screen is very exciting to them”.

It’s fun for Joe too as the project means he is re-living the excitement of Neurofeedback technology through the kids’ eyes, and is getting invaluable experience of working with children. “The volunteering has given me invaluable experience of working with children and an opportunity to develop my research leadership skills,” says Joe, who wants to study for a PhD after completing his MSc in Clinical Mental Health.

Joe is also very complimentary about the support provided by Catalyst. “They gave me staff time, purchased equipment, and made sure someone was always there to help if I was a little overwhelmed with the kids!”

For more information about volunteering with Catalyst please  contact Anne-Marie Fineman on 0300 456 2099 or