My first volunteer role

The power of stories

I had done lots of informal volunteering, but my first formal, organised volunteering role was providing reading support for children at a primary school. My children were 3 and 6 at the time, and I had offered to help at my children’s school but they were full. However, I found about another local school who were desperate for support.

I’ve done lots of volunteering roles since but for me this was one of the most rewarding – walking into the classroom and seeing the children putting their hands up to be the first to read with me was amazing. It was also great to see how their reading improved through some dedicated support, demonstrating how the role made a difference. When I left, all the children involved made me a card each to say thank you, which I still have to this day.

Michelle Martin, Chief Executive, Volunteer Centre Greenwich.

Making a difference
Lisa, previously Trustee at VCG

I was 24 years old and had finished a Prince’s Trust scheme with no idea of what to do next. I wanted to get a job but my disability made that difficult – I would apply but be told that my needs couldn’t be accommodated.

Someone I knew from the Prince’s Trust was doing work experience at the Forum@Greenwich and it was going really well. The Volunteer Coordinator there took the time to talk to me and then invited me to volunteer with them. I started on reception and ended up helping the team with anything that was needed in the office. I stayed for years and it really helped to build my confidence.

Lisa, Volunteer in Greenwich

The power of play

My first volunteering experience was when I was at University in Exeter – I joined an organisation called Community Action and got my first taste of the impact volunteering can have on the local community. One of my roles was as a co-leader of a club called PHAB – for physically disabled and non-disabled children.

And it really was ‘fab’ – it brought together local kids with disabled children from a specialist school, organising activities, sports and outings for them and reinforcing the message that these children had a lot more in common than differences between them. I really enjoyed the experience and it whetted my appetite to stay involved in volunteering.

Lorelei, Development Worker at Volunteer Centre Greenwich

Proving your skills

My first volunteer role was in the local charity shop when I was 17. It was ten minutes from my mum’s house and I did Saturday mornings so I still had my weekend to myself. I’ve not worked in a shop since but being able to prove that I was reliable, good with people and motivated enough to offer my time for free helped me to get my first job.

Kay, Volunteer Centre Greenwich


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