I began volunteering in the late 1990s following my nephew’s diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. My family and I began putting on fundraising events, bucket collecting and acting as event stewards…often in the rain! We raised funds to support local hospices and to finance the specialist equipment Daniel needed. It was a steep learning curve and hard work, but we had a lot of fun and made some great friends along the way.
The volunteering led me to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector, where I have now worked for five charities since 2010. I wanted to continue my volunteering so when the opportunity to apply for a Trustee role at Hamelin came around, I didn’t hesitate to get involved. Hamelin Trust is a charity I have always been familiar with, having lived in Billericay until I was 22. Its vision, mission and values are closely aligned to mine and my family’s, so it felt like a great fit.
I don’t think there is one specific thing that is best. I enjoy the variety of activities that volunteering offers, the new experiences and the different perspective it provides. I like meeting new people who share the same passion as I do, and the feeling of satisfaction and achievement volunteering gives me. Obviously, as a Trustee, it’s not all ‘fun’ and new experiences – the sheer number of board papers can be overwhelming sometimes – but the responsibility the role has to help guide the charity forward and ensure best practices is both rewarding and compelling.
I enjoy the experience I continue to get around the governance of a charity, something that I wanted to gain before I joined Hamelin. I am aware of the responsibility trustees have for the staff, the people the charity supports, and their families, and it has been a privilege to be part of that.
Do it! Find a charity or cause you are passionate about and a role (or two) you would like to do and apply. The need and demand for charity services has never been greater, and the sector cannot do what it does without the incredible volunteers who donate their time to help organisations achieve their goals. Being part of that is incredible and knowing the difference you are making is an amazing feeling!
On behalf of the Trustee Board I would like to offer our sincerest thanks and gratitude to all our amazing volunteers. We really couldn’t deliver high quality care to people across Essex without you. Massive appreciation for all you do for the charity and the families we serve.