My decision to volunteer was based on the fact that in retirement, with a wife who works full time and two grown-up children, I would have time to try and make a difference to the local community (I was brought up on the border of Holland Park and Shepherd’s Bush). I wanted to motivate the next generation and help them fulfil their goals and aspirations. I believed that being a scientist, businessman and male might be different for some of the children and that I could possibly be a useful role model to a few of them.
The ClementJames Centre is home to the Employment Support programme which helps local residents find work or training and the Adult Learning and Wellbeing and Support programmes. Initially teaching maths in the homework club, I now give one-to-one support, helping individuals write CVs and apply for jobs, plus giving presentations on behalf of ClementJames to raise funds and appearing in a promotional video.
Undoubtedly the best thing about volunteering with the ClementJames Centre is their appreciation for the work that all the volunteers do. The whole organisation has a friendly feel and ‘buzz’ about it. My voice is recognised by the receptionist and by the various individuals with whom I interact, who are all grateful for the small amount I do.
Seeing that I am able to make a difference is very satisfying. This can be helping someone pass an exam or be moved up a set, helping someone to get a job or the charity being granted a sum of money! These may sound like small triumphs but this can make a huge difference to their futures. It is a very heart-warming to have played a role, however large or small.
Volunteering has given me an appreciation of what tough lives some people have. The ClementJames Centre is in the shadow of Grenfell Tower and the tragedy only strengthened my desire to help in whatever way I can.
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