I’ve volunteered for twenty years, since my son was a baby. I started at his nursery, and carried on through his primary and secondary stages. I went back to work, and returned to volunteering when I became unwell – I had a long-term repetitive strain injury.
The fire had just happened. I needed to help my community and I went to the Volunteer Centre looking for the right role. I’m a skilled event manager, so it seemed like a good fit to volunteer as a Community Champion. I knew I wanted to go back to work once I’d recovered, and I hoped that I would be able to get an up-to-date reference when the time came.
My role involved planning and managing health and well-being events supporting people affected by the fire, alongside the professional programme manager. I managed other volunteers, ensuring events ran smoothly and everyone attending got the most out of them. This enabled the programme manager to provide individual support to participants who needed it. The team at the Volunteer Centre was practical and kind; they understood the vulnerabilities those of us affected by the fire were experiencing.
Volunteering lets me give back to the community, and made me get out of the house when I needed to. Being unwell for an extended period was hard, and volunteering helped me get back on my feet without the pressure of going straight into paid work. It’s helped me keep my skills up-to-date and, ultimately, it led to a really fulfilling job with the Volunteer Centre. I still help people in the place that I live, but now I have an income so I can keep doing it.
Volunteering keeps you well, gives your life meaning and direction, and ensures you stay connected to the people around you. It’s an investment in your future success, as well as giving life a purpose right now.
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