People volunteer for lots of reasons - for work experience, to meet people, to give back to the community - lots of reasons. And lots of different types of people volunteer - some are confident and need little or no support but for some people simply pointing them in the direction of an opportunity and letting them get on with it just isn't enough.
Steve came to the Volunteer Centre looking for a catering volunteering opportunity. Unemployed for 25 years and in his 60s with mental health issues Steve had been a regular visitor to the Volunteer Centre but had never been able to find the right volunteering role. With a varied background Steve had originally trained as a chef, served in the army catering corps and had jobs in post offices, nursing homes and hotels. So it wasn't lack of experience that was holding him back.
Steve's problem was lack of confidence on first meeting people and that caused him problems in formal interviews especially getting across what he was capable of and the wealth of experience he had to offer. Having been put forward for volunteering roles many times without success it seemed that many of the organisations he had been referred to were not able to give him the extra support that he needed to settle in or a supportive environment in which to feel comfortable.
Knowing Steve's history, one of our advisors became aware of an unadvertised opportunity with an organisation that provides food to homeless people and put Steve forward for the role after discussing his needs with the project. With the support of the advisor, who accompanied Steve to the interview and also to his first session, the placement has been a great success - Steve has a new-found confidence through meeting other people and a sense of purpose in that what he does makes a difference to the lives of others.
Our Volunteer Centre Advisors - who are volunteers themselves - are always willing to give that extra support and guidance to people and in this case that support has made a huge difference to someone's life.
If you, or someone you know, would like to share their volunteering experiences on the website then please contact Kate Richardson on 01332 342272.