I am a full time single mum, I love being a mum but also wanted to do something that I enjoy and give back to the community.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I volunteer because it opens up opportunities. It is a great way to meet different people, acquire skills and a fantastic way to build on personal and professional development. It can also make a difference when competing in a saturated jobs market. The fact that my contribution helps a worthy cause, a project or a person is also an immense incentive to keep volunteering.
Who do you help through volunteering?
Through my volunteering I have helped with the start up of the Havering Volunteer Centre; I have assisted in advertising our opportunities on do-it.org. Given my time to promote the Havering Volunteer Centre at local events and liaise with potential volunteers.
How has volunteering helped you?
Volunteering has helped me network and build valuable relationships with different people. The people I meet have been useful sources of wisdom, advice and inspiration. Volunteering has widened my horizons and has pushed me to consider experiences and activities I did not consider before.
What would you say to potential volunteers?
I would encourage potential volunteers to become actual volunteers. Volunteers should choose opportunities according to their needs and time availability; this ensures volunteering is of a greater mutual benefit. I encourage everyone to volunteer to have fun and to gain a different perspective on life and work. There is something for everyone, get involved.
Why I Love to Volunteer
I first started volunteering in 2002, initially to get my confidence back after bringing my daughter up and because she had started school full time.
ln 2003 l had a breakdown after losing a close family member in tragic circumstances. I returned to my volunteering and then in 2008 l had another episode.
ln November 2009, having regained my confidence to try again, I started volunteering at HAVCO doing Office Administration/Reception work.
2012 was both a good year and bad year for me. It was good because I had the honour of being a Havering Ambassador during the Olympic Torch Ceremony in Rainham, my home village. Unfortunately, I burnt myself out and spent Christmas 2012 in hospital and was diagnosed with Bipolar, at least now I knew which illness I was dealing with. I went back to HAVCO whom l must say were great.
In September 2015, HAVCO closed its doors for good which was a real shock and worry as to what I was going to do.
Just before HAVCO closed Shelley Hart the Volunteer Centre Manager at HAVCO nominated me for the Over 50’s category Team London Awards 2015. Although I did not win, I was proud to make it to the final 4 out of 33 London Boroughs. This was a nice end to my journey at HAVCO.
l am so relieved and since June 2016 I am back volunteering with old & new colleagues some of them I have known for almost 7 years. My Confidence is improving daily and I feel that not only do I make a benefit to the people we help but the Volunteer Centre has a benefit to me and given me a purpose.
It‘s like a breath of fresh air to me personally, as I was starting to feel unwell again.
The Volunteer Centre has given me another lifeline, long may it continue.