When I started working for ADSS I found myself volunteering for many different events and taking on many different roles. I have to say that I used to offer to volunteer but then it would become a family event, with Jeff (my husband), Daniel and Emily (my children) happily joining me.
Some of these events being, Sponsored walks and quizzes, tea dances, work functions, gardening, flower sales and fetes. Most of these functions were for fundraising for the charity and this I saw as an important part of my role, supporting the charity, enabling them to raise funds which ultimately would benefit the people we support.
This was the beginning of our volunteering life.
As a family we all enjoyed volunteering and found it rewarding individually and as a family. We enjoyed the fun and laughter we had during the events, making new friends and the “feel good feeling” it left you with at the end, knowing we had helped to raise money for the charity.
Moving on, when my own mum was diagnosed with dementia we started to attend the support group and I could see and appreciate the benefits of the group had for both the carer and their loved one with dementia. Being able to socialise with others in the same situation as myself was comforting and sharing experiences/knowledge was helpful.
And it wasn’t long before we were off into our new volunteering roles, I was on the tea rota and Jeff was the new bingo caller.
I have been lucky enough to have helped out in some Active Bodies Active Minds groups with ADSS. Seeing the enjoyment and individual growth, in personal confidence and self esteem people got from these groups was very rewarding. Witnessing new friendships developing as clients chatter over their tea/coffee and cake was good to see.
The taking part in activities was great fun, some activities were new to me as well as the the people we support, but we all just had a go, which led to fun and laughter all round.
Jeff and I have recently been given the opportunity to take on the role of facilitating the support group at Safeharbour. This is very exciting and we are looking forward to providing different activities, making a fun filled 2hrs in a calming atmosphere where carers and their loved ones can relax, socialise and make new friends.
So far we feel that we are achieving this, there is always lots of fun and laughter and everyone says they enjoy themselves and hearing this makes us feel proud.
There are so many words that we can use to describe how we feel about volunteering and what we get in return from it, but I fear the list would go on and on. So keeping it short:
We enjoy the companionship and friendships we have made along the way.
Sharing our own experiences and knowledge with others and in return they share theirs.
We enjoy the challenge of taking on something new and seeing it develop helps to build our own experience and confidence.
We get a great sense of satisfaction for just helping out and knowing we are appreciated.
We volunteer because we simply love it and hope that our efforts make a difference to the lives of others.