From the 1st-7th June every year we celebrate National Volunteers Week! A week dedicated to acknowledging, celebrating & thinking about all the amazing roles volunteers complete across the country! This year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic it seems more important then ever we think about all the fantastic differences volunteers make in our community. At Changing Futures we have 30 volunteers who support children and young people in the community, helping them to thrive whilst being a stable positive influence in their life.
Toni, one of our Independent Volunteers is talking about her experience of volunteering and getting involved at Changing Futures.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Outside of my volunteer role I am just a normal busy Mam who spends 99% of my free time doing the usual hobby runs for my sons. I work full time as a Medicine Team Officer at the Care Quality Commission, it's a great role and I consider myself lucky to have a job I thoroughly enjoy! I enjoy the simple things in life like cooking and family time and since lockdown I have established myself as a keen cake maker (much to the children's delight)
Why did you decide you wanted to start volunteering?
In honesty, it isn't something I had even considered before, I have a really busy home life with a full time job and young children, I would never have thought I could find time for anything else. I had seen a post shared on Facebook which was a plea for volunteers to become Mentors and Independent Visitors and I felt like it was definitely something I could help with. I didn't do much thinking I just contacted Changing Futures and decided that this was definitely something I was willing to make time for. After meeting with Jess and attending various training events I knew it was something that would become a part of my life
What was it about the volunteering opportunities at CFNE that made you apply with us?
I think primarily it was because the role was associated with children, I knew that I could offer myself as a positive role model and felt that overall it would be as good for me as it would be for the children involved.
How do you fit volunteering in around your other commitments?
At the moment due to Covid-19 it is easier than ever, as I am only fulfilling my role as an Independent Visitor using Zoom and telephone, however in the future I will certainly allocate time to my role to ensure the support I can offer is of maximum benefit to the young people involved
Did you have any concerns before starting to volunteer?
I was worried initially that I wouldn't be able to commit enough time to the role or that it might clash with activities or hobbies in my personal life, however after meeting Jess and discussing the role in depth, i knew that it was something I would always make time for
What have you found most rewarding about volunteering so far?
So far the biggest reward has been getting matched up to my young person (which I believe was the first virtual meet for an IV), it is lovely to think you are being of benefit and actively supporting someone during this difficult time
What advise would you give to other people who were considering volunteering but not sure where to apply?
I would say do it, make contact and ask the questions you need answering , you really won't ever look back! The team have been so welcoming and have been contactable throughout my whole journey, my initial contact was made through Social Media.. it was as easy as that!
A huge thank you to Toni for sharing her thoughts on being an IV and to the support she provides in the IV project. If you are interested in volunteering with us or fining out more about the role, click here.