Meet Ben, York Mind RISE Keyworker

Meet Ben, York Mind RISE Keyworker


Over the last few months, the RISE partnership welcomed keyworker Ben to York Mind, and he’s been keen to properly introduce himself to the partnership following our peer support networks and the rise of more cross-partner collaborations. 

With  a diverse skill set, Ben has tried on a fair few hats in his career (including a stint in a well-known reality TV series!), and having experienced a period of poor mental health in his own life, decided it was time for a change. Since taking post, he’s begun exercising his combined passion for mental health and helping others by supporting participants across Better Connect’s RISE programme. Initially we heard how Ben supported Michael on the programme back in December with ‘seamless’ employment and mental health support, but now let’s dive into Ben’s experience of the project, and beyond. 

If you want to know more about Ben, give our Q&A a read & be sure to check out York Mind’s website.


Tell us a little bit about yourself- 

I’m Ben, a Yorkshireman through and through. I absolutely love being out in nature and was lucky enough to live in a campervan in Australia for 2 years surfing most days. Since coming back to England, I still love heading to the coast to surf even though the water is much colder! When I’m not surfing, I absolutely love cooking and featured on the TV series Come Dine with Me a few years ago coming joint first which I was very proud of. I have two lovely pets who keep me busy, a cat called Serge and a dog called Ziggy. I’m also a huge music lover and in the summer love nothing more than camping in a field and listening to bands.



What brought you to York Mind & RISE?

After working in various different sectors, most recently marketing, I decided it was time for a change. I really wanted a job which gave me the opportunity to help other people, I’m also passionate about mental health so looking for a job with a mental health charity seemed like the perfect fit. I knew the Mind charity well, having raised money for them in the past, and when I saw a job advertised on the York Mind website, I applied and was lucky enough to get it! That was about a year ago, and since then, I have had the pleasure on working on lots of different projects for York Mind. As soon as I saw the RISE role advertised a few months ago, I knew that I had to apply. Having experienced a period out of work myself due to mental health issues and managing to overcome those issues, I feel that experience will be vital to help others who are in a similar situation, showing them some of the things that helped me at that time.



How do you feel about being a keyworker in the RISE partnership & what most excites you about it?

I’m absolutely delighted to be on the RISE project. I think what excites me most about the project is just how much scope there is in the work that I can do with clients. Whether it’s accessing benefits, working on CV’s, learning new coping skills to help with mental health issues or helping to access training, no two sessions are ever the same. Whatever issue the client is struggling with, I will do my best to help them overcome it. I also love that the project offers 3 to 6 months of support, I feel this is a great amount of time to make some fantastic progress.


What’s going on at York Mind right now that we should know about?

There’s always lots of lovely things going on at York Mind! We have all sorts of different activities running such as creative arts, building confidence and resilience plus much more. These activities offer a safe space to meet new people, learn new skills and share experiences. It’s always worth checking our website as we run different activities all the time.

As well as activities, we have a variety of other services to help with supporting better mental health, we have both a counselling service for children and adults, as well as mentoring for young people. Furthermore, we offer an advocacy service, as well as corporate wellbeing services delivering training on various courses related to mental health.




What’s your professional background/area of expertise?

It’s safe to say that I’ve had quite a varied career to date. When I first left school, I became a cocktail bartender teaching cocktail schools across Yorkshire, I was even lucky enough to work on a private yacht making cocktails for a little while. I have also completed a degree in marketing, and have worked in various marketing agencies as a brand manager, working with big name brands such as Pets at Home, First Direct, and Hitachi. I have also worked on volunteering projects in Australia, helping injured animals and helping communities after the bush fires. I’ve also worked as a gardener, an organic farmer and I even tried my hand at stand up comedy for a few years. Having started working in mental health around I year ago I have never looked back and I am currently studying to be a counsellor and am hoping to start a masters next year in psychotherapy.



Learn more about RISE here & follow our socials to stay up to date with the latest participant stories and partnership opportunities. 

Want to share your experience across one of our current projects? Drop a line to our Impact Coordinator – [email protected] 

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller & collaborator, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura