Friday, 22 April 2011

Volunteering - Can you spare some time?

I have always been one of those sorts of people, who enjoy helping others. It started from when I was young, aged approx 13-14yrs and worked at my local Co-op. I used to like helping people carry their shopping home. When I realised how appreciative they were it spurred me on to decide that when I got older I would volunteer where I could.

My first stint on volunteering, was when I lived in Worcester, UK. I used to work for Thomas Cook the travel agents, and met up with a guy who worked with young disabled children for an organisation called PHAB. This organisation helps persons with physical handicaps work together with able bodied people. He encouraged me to help them out so I gave it a try. We had such fun, organising sports events, holidays or days out. I only stopped doing this when I moved back to my home county.

Years later I worked in another travel agency which was targetted by armed robbers. I spoke to Victim Support who help support victims of crime with help and advice. I was so impressed by the service that they give that I joined them as a counsellor. This role I had to stop when I joined the police as the two roles overlapped and I could not really counsel people that I take calls from to report the crime. It was a bit unethical. Great charity though and needs more support.

Feeling at a bit of a loose end, I was looking for other volunteering opportunities. My paternal grandmother was blind, so I joined an organisation called Deaf Blind UK. I assisted an old lady with her shopping, writing christmas cards and just doing odd jobs that she needed. It was quite demanding and tiring and I had to stop this role because she would ring me up at home and work and it got quite awkward. I felt this particular organisation was not for me.

Now I volunteer for the Youth Offending Team as a court panel member, working with young offenders and trying to get them back on the straight and narrow. I've done this for a year now and I absolutely love it! I've met some great people, some great kids and some really desperate ones who you just want to give a big hug to but can't. It is a very rewarding role.

So everyone reading, can you spare just even an hour a week? If so think about volunteering. It makes you feel good, feel you are doing something worthwile and is very rewarding. Check out for some ideas.

Click on any of the links mentioning the organisations for further information.