We visit an elderly lady who doesn’t see many people within a week, the common ground is feeding the birds, however it’s a lovely hour well spent chatting, playing and catching up after over time building a friendly relationship.
I am currently on maternity leave, have always been keen to volunteer and felt this was the perfect opportunity to invest quality time into volunteering.
Volunteering leaves me with a feeling of fulfilment and knowing that Florence and I are benefiting someone else life. Seeing the vast improvement in Freda who suffers with dementia, depression and anxiety is outstanding, over time we have built a great relationship and the admiration Freda has for Florence is wonderful. I also look forward to explaining to Florence when she is old enough to understand that we both used to volunteer. Hopefully it will help install good morals, a positive outlook and influence with the way Florence views others.
I’ve been volunteering for just over a year now for A Better Tomorrow, which is an addiction recovery service for people with alcohol and drug problems.
I lead on the Mentoring, Mindfulness Art Group and Cooking Group. The cooking group is made up of 4 lads who meet once a week learning basic skills cooking from scratch bonding together eating healthy which is very important for recovery. It is a great opportunity to talk and open up about anything, especially about talking about problems in safe environment.
I was once a successful business man who had a bit of bad luck and so was in need of help and support. A Better Tomorrow offered me this and helped me turn my life around.
As part of the group it felt natural to grow and do volunteering and put back into the group what I had got out of it. The great thing is to see the lad’s progress from how they come into the project to how they grow with confidence within it.
There is no other place like A Better Tomorrow, I know it works as I have been on the journey too. Being a part and having a passion for volunteering, helping others and giving back, you will get a lot out of it, it is well worth doing. It is a great opportunity if you have any spare time to learn new things
The Arleston Craft group celebrates its first birthday this month, the group which was set up by volunteer Amanda Dunn in 2018 aimed for its members to come together to socialise, build confidence, learn a new craft, share skills and support positive emotional wellbeing.
Amanda set the group up to enable members of the community to come together on a regular basis to learn or refine a new craft/skill with likeminded members in a safe and nurturing environment. The Arleston Community Centre was identified as a perfect venue for this and the centre has gone on to fully support the group’s development.
Amanda shared that she has been successful in applying for grants securing funding from her local councillor, locality board and Awards for all. The group also actively support fundraising events at the community centre.
Through Amanda’s promotion of the group they now have 21 registered members with 9-10 regularly attending each week which means the group is now financially sustainable. The group are always looking for new members to join them and have supported many of its members to grow in confidence often volunteering to take a leading role in the group’s activity.
The group shared the following when asked: what the group means to them?
- “I have developed new friendships which now extend beyond the group and into the community”.
- “I really enjoy coming as there is a good mix of age ranges and we all get on”.
- “Within the group I now feel confident enough to share my skills and craft ideas”.
- “The group gives me something to look forward to and enjoy some ME time”.
- “Even if I’m unable to do the crafts due to my limited mobility in my hands I always feel welcomed by Amanda and the rest of the group”.
- “I look forward to the group every week as I have a laugh and can be myself (Not Tommy’s grandma and carer) my confidence is improving”.
- “Prior to coming to the group I used to have panic attacks and struggled to sleep. Now my mental health, confidence and wellbeing has improved. I go out more and my panic attacks have reduced”.
- “I enjoy the social aspect of the group and my 3 daughters love seeing what I have made each week, we access the centre more now as a family”.
- “I have benefited from the social aspect of the group and it’s really interesting to learn new crafts”.
Amanda feels that the group offers something special to members of the community and we feel the community are lucky to have Amanda.
Vicky Bray has been volunteering with The Friends of Dawley Park for just under a year and found out about the opportunity through working with Job Box. Vicky spotted the advert which was originally for a volunteer to help with coordination but decided to get involved with the environmental side after making contact with the team.
During her time with the group, she has helped install the bicycle planters and the trough planters, helped with lots of weeding and has supported community events held in the park i.e. the musical picnic and giving information out on Dawley Day. Vicky initially got involved in voluntary work to make a difference and to get out of her flat more. This in turn, has helped build her confidence and work on her depression and anxiety that she sometimes suffers with. Most recently Vicky has completed First Aid training so is the group's First Aider and is now looking at other training that she could take part in that would benefit herself but also the group.
For the past 5 years I have been a volunteer for Telford Council and help deliver The Freedom Programme.
I think volunteering must me in my genes. I've been volunteering on and off for a variety of organisations for more than half my life since I took on the role of Treasurer at the local Playgroup my daughter attended and she's 38. I've had a paid role as a Volunteer Coordinator and when I worked with the Housing Team I managed a project which created and supported a fully constituted team of volunteers for the Women's Refuge. I know how important volunteering is to both the local and national economy. The country would grind to a halt if all volunteers stopped working tomorrow!
Regarding the difference it makes to me. I'm passionate about the Freedom Programme because I see and hear at first hand from victims and survivors about how it helps. I really enjoy delivering it and it's a great feeling to do something so useful to others. I especially enjoy the interaction with women and colleagues. Dare I say it keeps my brain cells active. Like a healthy diet, volunteering is good for you!
My volunteering jobs have always been easy; hats off to the people who do the hard work.
In March 2018, I was elected as Member of Youth Parliament for Telford and the Wrekin.
I had applied for this position because I believe that I have the motivation to make a difference to the lives of young people in the area, and across the UK.
I am a passionate believer in the power of volunteering and by doing this volunteer work I am helping the thousands of young people across Telford and Wrekin.
Ann Powis started with Beanstalk in March 2000 and is Beanstalk Shropshire's longest serving reading helper.
She worked in the admin department for Rapra in Shawbury and retired in 1998. In this year she attended a TA course at a locally collage. Before starting with Beanstalk she also volunteered for 10 years for Homestart. She also volunteered in her local school High Ercall for 5 years which included nursery children.
Over her 18 years she has worked with many children ranging between Year 1 to Year 6.
As a thank you for her long service Ann was presented with a certificated signed by our patron Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The attached picture is of Ann receiving her certificate from Beanstalk Coordinator, Anita Foster.
I started volunteering at Donnington & Muxton Youth Council because since I was younger I have always wanted to help others and help in my community. I attend the group on a monthly basis and we help to arrange activities for young people in the area- things like cinema nights and arts and craft sessions.
I decided to stand for Youth Councillor because I want to make sure young people have a voice in the Parish Council. I was elected by other young people back in March and have so far attended a parish council meeting with the clerk Ralph.
I also help at the Donnington Community Hub by helping with family activities and dressing up as children’s favourite characters to entertain the younger children Earlier this year, I was nominated for a High Sherriff of Shropshire Award for my work in the community.
I started volunteering at Citizens Advice about 2 years ago after I retired from a career as an HR professional working within a wide range of sectors, including banking and IT.
I decided to try volunteering primarily as a way to keep my brain active. I wanted an opportunity that allowed me to give something back to the community, and something with a social aspect that would bring me in contact with other volunteers.
After following the in-house Adviser Training course, I qualified in September 2016 as a General Adviser and now spend one day per week offering Debt advice and one day offering general advice on a wide range of issues.
Citizens Advice has a strong culture of supporting volunteer learning and development was one of the reasons I wanted to become a Volunteer Rep. I have transferred and enhanced the skills developed during my career to offer support for our diverse team of volunteers to enhance their employability, build on existing skills or simply to meet new people. Part of the Rep's responsibility is also to provide a volunteer voice to the Board of Trustees at their meetings, which gives me an opportunity to observe and understand the direction and strategy of the charity.
The primary benefit of volunteering for me is the variety of issues we see on a daily basis. It gives me huge personal satisfaction to work with clients, who may be very vulnerable and distressed, to give them the advice they need to improve their situation. Being part of national charity that is able to provide locally tailored support but also lobby for change at a national level is very exciting.
Being an Adviser and Rep does come with responsibility, but there is a strong culture of guidance and support at a local level so you are never left isolated. I would recommend Citizens Advice to anyone considering volunteering with us and encourage you to come and have a look at the wide range of roles available.
Cyril started volunteering at The Hub on the Hill not long after the community centre transferred over to the Trust. He started volunteering at the centre because he felt that he wasn’t doing much, needed to get out of the house and wanted to put something back into his community.
The volunteering that Cyril currently does is varied and includes helping to set up the rooms for groups and activities. This means working alongside the centre manager and assistant to look at bookings and leaving plenty of time for preparation. Cyril also collects the donated food from 2 Coop stores 3 times a week- the food is then sold or used in the café. When there are events on at the centre e.g. Christmas and Summer Fairs, Cyril helps with these by working on activities or the practical set up and tidy up afterwards.
Cyril is also the centre’s caller for one of the popular bingo sessions that goes on! Through volunteering, Cyril has developed an interest in taking part in some of the groups too so now regularly attends the singing group and plays indoor bowls. This has increased his friendship circle.
Whilst volunteering at the centre Cyril has started to look at his own needs and development and with the team’s support, he has been able to access services that are helping him.
Cyril feels that he works in a supportive team- with both paid staff and other volunteers- that he can trust and feels that through working in such a supportive team, his confidence has grown.
I volunteer for My Options at The Hub in Horsehay. I run craft sessions with small groups of customers. When I have time I also volunteer at Blists Hill.
Volunteering gives you opportunities to work with organisations that are of interest to you or that you feel are important. When trying to return to work after many years caring for children and a young adult I found I had very low self- confidence. Volunteering helped me to get out of the house, meet people, gain new skills and gave me a sense of purpose and improved my confidence.
Volunteering at Blists Hill and previously at Shrewsbury Museum enabled me to help promote and support local history which is very important to me.
Volunteering at The Hub gives me great pride as I feel I am supporting people to develop usable skills whilst encouraging their enjoyment of art and crafts. I get so much enjoyment from the customers there and have learnt a lot of new people skills. It also helps me to think about things and how to approach tasks from other people's perspective.
Volunteering improves my skills and self-confidence. It gives me time with people I may not have met. It gives me the chance to work in places and doing roles that I would like to have as employment but probably would never have the chance to.
I'm from the local Donnington area, where I am a street Champion. I've doing this for 2 to 3 years.
Volunteering keeps me busy and gets me out of the house.
I know I don't get paid but I like doing it.
It's very interesting and I have lots of fun talking to people in the community.
If we didn't have Street Champions in our local area, nobody would pick the rubbish up.
Volunteering has built up my confidence so I can take part in the community.
Meet Kelly Butler
Kelly started volunteering in The Hub on the Hill café in May 2017. Kelly had attended catering courses but had never had a paid job due to being at home with her son whilst her partner went out to work.
When the relationship broke down, Kelly felt that she was always at home watching day time TV and getting bored so decided that she needed to get out more and work on her confidence and her self-development. She started volunteering in the café for a couple of hours 2-3 times a week. This quickly progressed as she began to feel more confident.
When the café manager left the centre, Kelly took on the role of running the café as a full time volunteer and a month later, the paid position became available. Kelly worked with Stephen Blake from Job Box to work on her application and interview skills- even attending a mock interview with Stephen. She was successful in her application and is now in paid employment 30 hours a week.
Meet Judy Faux
Judy had worked in banking since finishing school for 26 years and then did 2 years of running a burger van. She was then unable to work due to medical reasons and began to look after her grandson.
Judy started volunteering at The Hub on the Hill café in June 2017 after working with the Job Centre to look at getting back into paid employment. She felt bored at home and could feel her confidence and self- esteem decreasing the more she was at home. Judy started with volunteering a couple of times a week for a few hours but like Kelly, this soon progressed.
Judy has volunteered in the everyday running of the café but has also helped on the many events that run at the centre including Summer Fairs and the Fit n Fed project where young people took part in activities and then received a healthy cooked meal at lunch time.
A position came up in the café in April 2018 and Judy applied. She was successful and now has 16 hours of paid employment a week.
Kelly and Judy now have paid employment with the café but also volunteer additional hours so that they can develop the café further. They’ve opened the café for Mother’s Day meals which was a great success. Between them, they are now looking at ways of opening up the café at weekends and providing Sunday lunches for community members.
I work full time for Telford and Wrekin Council. For the last 21 years I have also volunteered on a Saturday afternoon for Shropshire Child Contact Centres.
Child Contact Centres provide a safe, friendly and neutral environment where children can meet a parent or other family members they might not otherwise see.
I volunteer to make a difference to children's lives. I believe children should be able to have contact with both parents/grandparents/siblings in a safe place and by facilitating supported contact, we can do this.
Being a volunteer I make a difference, we are a stepping stone to improving relationships which I feel proud of. Ongoing training ensures my skills and knowledge are up to date and volunteering supports my personal and professional development.
When I was a nursery assistant I realised that the Asian women and children had nowhere to go, so I started the Noor Women group about 2 and half years ago. The group was formed for the health and wellbeing of women and children, and to bring the community together. We meet every Monday at Arleston Community centre in term time and we do lots of activities including walking, yoga and other physical activities, we also have English speaking courses. The group has over 40 members now.
I also volunteer at the Equal Centre next to the Regent Street Mosk, to give English lessons for women and support their education.
I have also volunteered as a translator to support families from the community. Volunteering gives me a nice feeling. "When someone says thank you, it's out of this world."
I have volunteered in Tanzania, working in Morogoro’s Regional Hospital and Health Care Centre, as well as an orphanage; I did this in the summer of 2016 at the age of 16. Here I learnt the fundamentals of communication, with the local language being Swahili, and the principles of care and morals. I worked in a hospital from 7-3 then went to the orphanage before going to my accommodation, although tiring, it was a trip of a lifetime, and stays with me in my day to day thoughts. This experience completely changed my life, altering my perceptions and attitudes to life in general. Upon my arrival back home, I decided to continue with volunteering, giving back to developing countries and begun volunteering in my local Oxfam shop. Working in Oxfam I met so many new people and learnt many valuable skills, both customer service related and retail in general, but more significantly I received a boost of confidence. At Oxfam, being part of the ‘Oxfam-ily’ I meet many people from many different walks of life, ranging in ability and ages, this has taught me so much about team work and adapting how and where I work to ensure everyone is able to do what they want to do.
I then wanted to put more of my free time to good use, and applied for a job in the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, I managed to get into this by contacting the CAB directly and asking whether there were any volunteering roles available. This was an issue at first due to my age, as lots of subjects deal with at the CAB are highly confidential and do require past experience in the area. However, I was led to the organisation Taking Part, and I received another volunteering role with My Choice My Voice, working alongside members of the community who are in the process of having or who have had referrals to providers and need to be checked up on that relevant action has taken place. This again taught me many new skills, particularly communication with ranges of people and the subject matters of law and health care.
Furthermore, I volunteer at Horsehay Youth Group, working with young people to create a fun environment and taking part in many different activities! Each week is dedicated to something in particular, so the young people are always learning and sharing their stories and experiences with others. This expanded the age range further of people who I was working in, and made me experience being an adult to people only a few years younger, however, I do believe this worked well as if the younger ones wanted to talk to me they were able to, but if they just wanted me to partake in activities with them, I was also more than happy to.
I started volunteering at the Citizens Advice in Telford about 4 years ago. I'm a local resident, having lived and worked in the Telford area all of my life. I am an ex-coal miner of 30 years - I'm retired but still work providing Health and Safety consultancy for Civil Engineering organisations.
I volunteer as an Adviser for 2 days a week in the offices at Tan Bank in Wellington. I provide advice on range of subjects including benefits, employment, relationships, housing, immigration, legal and financial matters. I recently qualified as an Advisor and have taken the opportunity to specialise in providing debt advice.
When I told my family 4 years ago that I wanted to try volunteering at Citizens Advice they were quite surprised and were not sure how an ex-coal miner would fit in! New volunteers are supported by dedicated training co-ordinators and are given the opportunity to shadow a wide range of roles including Reception, Advice, Administration and Telephone Support. I quickly found that my experience I developed through my union at work, and other local volunteering that I undertake with local history groups and freemasonry societies was transferable to the Advisor role. I started Advisor training and after 15 months I qualified as a General Advisor.
Volunteering at Citizens Advice is very rewarding as the help and outcomes we provide are so clear and tangible. The advice work is varied and keeps me mentally fit and occupied and has allowed me to develop new friendships with other volunteers who share a hugely diverse range of backgrounds and skills. I have always considered myself a 'people person' and enjoy being able to provide a supportive and confidential service to local people from across the area. There is no cost to me apart from the time and passion I bring to the role, as all my travel costs are covered and the charity provides free training that ends with a recognised qualification.
If you want to meet new people and are looking for a new challenge, lifelong learning, and a chance to provide real support for the local community and develop some new skills, I recommend you come and have a chat and a taster of the opportunities we provide.
We are the Telford and Wrekin Young People's forum. We have been established for more than 5 years. We meet every 2 weeks at the Salvation Army in Oakengates. Through meetings and consultation, working with agencies and partnerships, we aim to influence change and development of services for young people. We support the UKYP members of the youth parliament.
We enjoy our meetings, making a difference, sharing points of views, having our say and shaping young minds and futures across Telford.
Volunteering with the group enhances our CV's by giving us experience and opportunity and confidence of working together and this makes us, stand out from the crowd.
Last updated: 11.08am on Tuesday 8 October 2019