This Volunteers Week 2018, we want to pay tribute to the dedicated people who give their time to a number of charities that we support.
Below we hear from both volunteers and those that work alongside them, within a number of small organisations across Surrey. They share what volunteering means to them.
Frank Connolly (pictured), volunteer award winner for local charity B@titude, gives his time by volunteering to fix bikes for the benefit of children and in-need members of the local community.
“Frank’s energy, enthusiasm and smile are contagious and it’s fantastic to witness the joy that this initiative brings to him and the children who receive new bikes. It’s such a boost of positivity for us and we’re very thankful for his passion and generosity. This all started for him when a friend of his had a couple of bikes to donate and asked Frank for ideas. He thought of us but wanted to give them a bit of a ‘do over’ first and they both came up really well. He noticed two further bikes in our ‘dump pile’ so thought he’d have a go at repairing those too. He did and the story began! Thank you Frank and all our volunteers for championing B@titude in many ways!”
– Naomi Moore, B@titude staff
“Home-Start RAW volunteers provide the most amazing, unsung, essential and compassionate support for struggling families. Without this committed group of people, many families would undoubtedly reach crisis point or need to be supported by underfunded and overworked statutory services. The difference that a home-visiting volunteer can make is immense and often quantifiable. To share the laughter and the tears with a family in a positive way is a privilege, to be able to help and support them through difficult times and into more positive ones is an honour, and when they no longer need your support…that’s the very best bit of all.”
– Liz Perkins, Home-visiting volunteer and Trustee
“I have been a Home Start Volunteer for over 5 years, and have been privileged to support 5 families, all with different needs and backgrounds, but all welcoming me into their homes unreservedly.
It’s not just the families that benefit from Home-Start; I too have gained so much as a volunteer. Home-Start has provided me with essential and professional training, support and supervision, and a welcoming environment in which I feel truly part of my community. This experience has enriched my life; I have met some lovely families and made friends with some amazing and like-minded people.”
– Mahnoosh, Home-Start volunteer since 2013
“Having had my questions handled with sensitivity from day one, the ethos of the charity shone through as thirteen training sessions went by in a flash. We were supporting and learning from each other. The end of the training reaffirmed and reassured me. ‘There is so much more to listening’ – a truly transferable skill. No training can fully prepare you, but I never felt adrift or unsupported.”
– Trainee Volunteer to provide end of life care at home, The Brigitte Trust
“I had just stopped work and knew I needed some structure to my week but didn’t feel particularly confident about the skills I had to offer. It was then that my sister who’s a social worker suggested Home-Start. I spoke to a friend who was volunteering for them and quickly realised that my experience bringing up my own children was just what they were looking for.
Nearly three years later, I haven’t looked back. From the thorough training of the preparation course to working with three families in very different circumstances, to all the time supported by the wonderful team at Home-Start, I have found the whole experience to be very rewarding. The sense of being part of a community and knowing that I am making a difference has increased my confidence and I am sure, should I look for part-time work now, I would be far more employable.”
– Denise S, Home-Start volunteer