Why I love to volunteer?

Monday 3rd June sees the start of National Volunteer Week. A week created to praise the thousands of people who give up their free time every week to a charity in need. 

As well as wanting to thank our own volunteers we also want to praise our team who as well as working for NDH also help a number of different charities in North Devon and beyond.

First of all to our own NDH Volunteers we say thank you, from our tenants who help us with our customer groups and give up countless hours working with us to improve our processes, to our senior members at youth club who help us run each and every one of our sessions – without whom we wouldn’t be able to run clubs for so many young people in our communities. We couldn’t do it without you.

Next, a thank you to the whole of Team NDH who have committed 100 days to local charities in 2019 with our 100 Days Scheme. Everything from gardening for North Devon Hospice, to beach cleans, to packing boxes for ChemoHero. We’ll be busy helping away in the local community.

Now, a few words from our team on why they volunteer for other special charities:

chemohero

Megan takes minutes for local charity ChemoHero, she says:

“I was approached by ChemoHero founder Lisa Wallis as the trustees were looking for a minute taker.  This is a charity that I love to support so and used my skills so I was happy to help.  It is only a few hours each month and I feel included in the amazing work that this charity do.  I love shouting about their boxes of kindness to anyone who will listen!  When we started our 100 days volunteering campaign it was natural to support ChemoHero by packing boxes” 

samaritans

Alison spends her free time helping the Samaritans, she said:

“I wanted to do something in the community and was directed to Samaritans by a friend. The more I learned the more I wanted to join the team.  I didn’t realise Samaritans is there for everyone, not just people who want to end their life. The training to become a listening volunteer is really good I have learned so much. I have developed lots of useful skills which also help at work and home. The hours I do are flexible and I am able to choose time slots to fit in with my home and work life.  I aim to do 3 hours a week plus a night duty every 6 weeks or so.

On a ‘duty’ I answer the phone, answer text messages and emails. People contact Samaritans for all kinds of reasons.  It could be a stressful situation at work or home, depression, debt, loneliness, abuse anything that is worrying them. We are there to listen and talk things through.  Around 1 in 5 calls or messages are from people feeling suicidal.

I feel very privileged to be there for someone who needs to talk and am grateful that I can make a difference, however small.”

k9

Emma does the marketing for K9focus, a dog rescue charity:

“I started volunteering for K9 after I had a personal need for their help. The team were so helpful, supportive and lovely! Now part of the team myself, I’ve built them a new website, I help with their social media and am currently sorting them out in the world of GDPR so we can get a marketing newsletter going. It’s great to be able to utilise my own skills to help a charity I care about. Plus, the dog cuddles as payment make it all worthwhile!”

care4kids

Lorna volunteers for Care for Kids and had this to say:

“I started volunteering for Care For Kids in 2017 as they really helped me and my family through an extremely tough and challenging time.  In 2016, my daughter was born 6 weeks early with CHD (congenital heart defect) at St Michaels Hospital in Bristol, which required a 3 week stay in NICU and then we were then transferred to Barnstaple SCBU until she was finally well enough to come home.  One of the mums in the Caroline Thorpe Ward told me about Care For Kids North Devon and how they have been really helpful, so I decided to have a look on their website and Facebook page to see what they were all about!

They help families with grants to help towards costs of looking after a sick child. Not only do they provide family grants, they have also spruced up the Parents Room in the Caroline Thorpe Ward, and have also made lots of improvements to the play room and other rooms in the ward.  No one really wants to spend time at the Caroline Thorpe Ward as it means they are there with a poorly child, so they have made it a nicer place to be!

Once my daughter was well enough after her open heart surgery at 10 months old, I decided that Care For Kids have really helped me out, it was time for me to give something back, so I contacted them as they were asking for volunteers to do a bucket collection at Sainsbury’s.  I thought I could spare an hour or two holding a bucket, it’s the least I could do! 

I really enjoyed my hour or so talking to people at Sainsbury’s about some of the work Care For Kids do, you aren’t pressured into making people spare there change, there were balloons and activities and some stickers so it was more inviting and engaging.

A few months later, they were asking for volunteers again for bucket collections in my home town and as I enjoyed it so much last time, I volunteered again! This then lead to me becoming the Bideford Ambassador for Care For Kids and have since volunteered to Marshall 2 of their Barnstaple 10k run events!”

ndhospice

Sarah spends her free time at the North Devon Hospice:

“I volunteer at North Devon Hospice in their Education team, helping them to coordinate the training they provide to healthcare professionals.  I spend half a day per week helping out and I do this because I know what valuable support the Hospice provides to local families and what a difference it makes at a difficult time.  From working there, I also know how vital volunteers are, especially as services and funding are constantly cut.  I want to give something back in whatever small way I can."