Friday, 22 July 2016

Volunteering ….not just working for free

Hi All, my name is Emma Saunters and I have been the Volunteer Community ambassador for Footsteps Counselling and care since September.

The aim of this blog post is to give you a bit of an insight of what being a volunteer is like. I can't really sum it up in one word, as for me it is a mixture of astonishing, inspiring and rewarding, with each week being so different from the next !

I will start by letting you know a bit about myself. I was a single mum at 20, and had my second child at 25 with my now husband. From the time I got pregnant with my eldest, I hadn't worked. I was bringing up 2 children , but how do I write that on a C.V. I didn't know , but I knew I had skills , I just didn't use them in 'actual' work.

So, in September 2015 I was sitting there one day , my youngest was due to start nursery soon, and I thought 'arghhh, what am I going to do with this free time!'. I contemplated with sorting the house out , going for coffee with others that were in the same situation as me, but no I was looking into the future more. I guessed that one day soon I would actually have to get a job ….and this worried me because I had not worked for over 5 years !

I had taken it upon myself to find somewhere where I could give my time and in return I could develop my skills , so I would have something other than 'bringing up kids' on my CV , which by the way includes many skills, but probably not so favourable if you were going for a job and were up against someone who had demonstrated those skills in work … I don't know it may just be me thinking that, but I'd rather be safe than sorry !

Anyway, the stuff that Footsteps do is very close to my heart and I wanted to help. Win, win situation really because by helping them I would be helping myself too, because whatever I did would go straight on my CV!

At first it was a bit daunting ! I didn't know if I was capable of it , as I had so much time out of work , but guessed I had to start somewhere. I soon got into it though and even now I drive home smiling after , because I know I have done something good, for Footsteps and for me.

Footsteps have enabled me to develop my skills , and even taught me new ones! I've made new friends , and instead of being sat looking at the washing pile at home , I'm working and making a difference!

That brings me onto my next point , how do I fit it all in, how many hours do I do and what is expected of me. It is important for me to have balance. To be honest it is quite flexible. I do what I can , when I can, and anything I do is much appreciated by Footsteps. I am also training to be a Counsellor so that takes a lot of my time, aswell as homelife and family. I do about 6 hours a week presently, but due to the holidays I can't do anymore , but thats is ok with volunteering, it's not like a full time job , anything you do is better than nothing at all.

Footsteps rely on their volunteers to operate , each and every one is cherished from the shop worker to what I am , the Community Ambassador, we are all needed and without us they wouldn't be able to do what they do.
Like I mentioned previously , there is not one word to describe volunteering, and for me it is not 'just working for free', the rewards I get from it completely outweigh anything else ! I've been in the local paper and today I even got to have an interview on the radio, pretty cool eh?!

If you have extra time on your hands , need skills to put on your CV, want to help in the community or just want to make a difference, please don't hesitate in contacting us.

Volunteering has changed my life and it could for you too !

Footsteps currently need volunteers for the following:

  • Shop workers and sorters
  • eBay support
  • Community Ambassadors to give talks and raise awareness in the community
  • Qualified counsellors
  • Trustees
  • Social Media support
  • Fundraising and events

So give us a call or send us a message!
01452 308618

Footsteps Counselling and Care provides free counselling support for anyone affected by pregnancy related issues, the loss of a baby for any reason and at any time and those struggling with infertility. Please see out 'about us' page at the top of this blog, visit our website, link to the right or visit our charity shop.

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