Volunteering opened a new door for me
Having recently finished a course Alex, 21, was looking for something stimulating to do. She had decided to take a gap year before finding a job. “I thought I would do something interesting with my free time that I wouldn’t have the time to do at another point in my life.” She came across Volunteer Centre Royston via an internet search for places to volunteer.
Alex was excited at the prospect of volunteering and, through the Volunteer Centre, was able to secure the position of Education Officer at a wildlife park. Alex says that
“Volunteering definitely gets you out of your comfort zone, opens new doors, improves self-esteem and looks much better to employers in a break between jobs, than doing nothing! It gives you a great experience, whatever your field of interest.”
Now 18 months down the line, Alex is employed at the park. She believes the experience has changed her life, given her loads of confidence – and even a new career path!
Volunteering helped me decide what I want to do
Charlotte, 33, had been experiencing high levels of anxiety at work. She decided that the time had come for her to see what else was on offer and to test the water with a different job. She was particularly interested in finding out about working in a school. Charlotte had done some volunteering when she was younger and believed that it wouldn’t have the same pressure as paid work.
When she contacted Royston & District Volunteer Centre, she had some initial concerns; “I was worried about going somewhere if it wasn’t right for me”, but she found talking about her feelings really helped, and with assistance from the Volunteer Centre Manager she identified several opportunities that were of interest.
After a couple of interviews with a school and a riding school for the disabled, Charlotte felt confident enough to approach some other local schools herself. This went well and she was offered a part-time role as voluntary teaching support. For 19 months Charlotte has been volunteering at her local school and it has helped her decide that she definitely wants to work with children with special needs. Another benefit for Charlotte is that volunteering ”has been a way to get to know people and has made me feel more a part of my local community.
“Volunteering has helped me to realise what I want to do with my career. The hard thing is the job market, but my volunteering shows an employer that I have a real interest and it’s a job I really want”.
When Brenda called the Volunteer Centre she was newly retired and really missing her job. It had got so bad that she was finding it difficult even to leave the house as her confidence and self esteem had been shattered.
After contacting Royston Volunteer Centre and receiving 1-1 support she said –
I would like to thank you for all your help. I would never have thought of becoming a school governor until you suggested it, I’ve got my first Governor’s meeting next week but have already done a couple of visits to find out more about the school. Also getting out in the open air by volunteering at Wimpole Farm was an excellent idea. I started volunteering once a week there at the beginning of January. There are plenty of jobs to do such as putting the geese, hens and ducks to bed, feeding the sheep and mucking out the pigs I’m LOVING it! I think I’ve got enough to keep me busy for a while but I know where to come if I want to do more.
George was referred to the Volunteer Centre from his GP; he had been unemployed for 6 months and at over 55 was in despair as he felt he would never feel useful again
After exploring possible volunteering options he started volunteering twice a week at a drop in centre for drug and alcohol users and after 8 months there, found a paid job, he sent a mail saying.
I have really enjoyed my volunteering experience, my various career skills, combined with some personal experiences, and helped me make a proper and significant difference within the drugs/alcohol drop-in centre office. I would have liked to have taken up a paid role within the organisation but there being none available, with the help of a reference from them, I have now been offered a position working in sales, which I was my previous career. I shall also try to fit in a few hours a week to continue my volunteering.
Ryan was 18 when he first came to the Volunteer Centre. He sat with his head down and said he really didn’t think there was any organisation that would want him, as he was a failure – his words. It wasn’t until he saw the word music on the interests list on the volunteer matching system that he made eye contact. Royston Volunteer centre placed him in a community radio station where he blossomed. After a week there he rang m the Volunteer Centre and said
“I want to thank you, you saved my life, I am so happy”
He is now 21 and working at a music venue, his life completely turned around
These are just a few examples of the people who we at the Volunteer Centre are privileged to help to discover their potential and change their lives through volunteering.