Volunteering changed my life!

Making the most of opportunities

Representing volunteering for London at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008 was a life-changing experience. I was nominated for the opportunity, as I was a member of the Board of Trustees for Greater London Volunteering.

To go from working and volunteering in Greenwich to carrying the Olympic torch in Beijing was just amazing. I was also then able to use my experiences to deliver the Personal Best training to London 2012 volunteers through Volunteer Centre Greenwich.

This experience made me realise that these amazing, once-in-a-lifetime events really can happen to anyone. You just have to get involved and make the most of opportunities that come your way – and volunteering can help you to do that.

Michelle Martin, Chief Executive, Volunteer Centre Greenwich

 

Getting the support to go for more

Volunteer Centre Greenwich changed my life. I’m disabled and the attitude of my school was that we would all end up in a day centre, so we weren’t stretched or encouraged to find our skills. The Volunteer Centre have really supported me and helped me to go for more.

I started off on reception, then became a Community Learning Champion. I go to events in the local community and help people to find courses or a way into education as an adult. I also trained as a Signposter, which involved running one-to-one advice sessions with people looking for a volunteer role and helping to find an opportunity that suits them. I’ve been part of the volunteer team at the Centre for over ten years, including a stint as a Trustee.

There’s always something new to get involved in and the training to help you do it. I know my time is valued. Quite a lot of my friends get bored as there isn’t always stuff out there for them to do and use their time well. Volunteering has given my life purpose – it gives me a reason to get up in the morning and get out and about.

Lisa, volunteer in Greenwich

 

It made me see my own area differently

The volunteering experience that changed my life is probably the one that I am currently involved in; I am the referrals manager for a local charity called Bromley Brighter Beginnings, which helps disadvantaged families by supplying essential items such as cots, buggies, clothes, toys and nappies.

Many of these families have been affected by domestic violence and some are living in temporary accommodation or refuges. Seeing at first hand the poverty that exists on the doorstep of what is often regarded as an affluent Borough has really changed my perspective on our area and made me want to do more to help others. The team of volunteers I work with at the charity is fantastic and I really enjoy the energy, enthusiasm, ideas and dedication that the other members bring to the project.

Lorelei, Development Worker at Volunteer Centre Greenwich

 

Highlight of my week

Volunteering at a youth club changed my life – I wanted to work with people but wasn’t sure how. I was a bit scared as I didn’t have any specialist skills or experience, but the staff really supported me. Dealing with everything from table tennis and dodgeball to talking about bullying or problems at home soon got me hooked and knew I wanted to work with young people.

I volunteered for 18 months and was able to use my experience to get a youth work qualification. But more than anything else, I had fun – youth club was the highlight of my week.

Kay, Volunteer Centre Greenwich