Lesley smiling slightly at the camera

Volunteering helped me get the job – #100days100stories

Lesley, 54, moved to South Wales a few years ago to be closer to family. She had spent 20 years out of work because of a repetitive strain injury. It was through her involvement with Scope that she gained the confidence and skills to secure a full time job. Here Lesley shares her story as part of Scope’s 100 days, 100 stories campaign.

The last time I worked was in 1993 for a social services department, caring for elderly people. I gave up work as I had repetitive strain injury (RSI) in my wrist.

I had always done some volunteering with local charities and when I moved to South Wales in 2012, I wanted to continue to do voluntary work.

I knew I wanted to work with vulnerable adults, probably in a caring or support worker role. It was through the return to work scheme I was on that I learnt about Scope. I asked if I could find out more information and I met with a Scope worker, Carol.

Volunteering with Scope

Carol and I agreed that I would go to her regular cinema activity and see how we got on. I really liked the group and they seemed to like me, so I started as a regular volunteer.

We would go for lunch, to the cinema and bowling and I would be supporting disabled adults to take part in the activities.

I got particularly friendly with one woman who had epilepsy and we would meet and go for lunch. Once someone asked her who I was, and I introduced myself as her friend. It was really nice the way it happened, as she was a private person.

Learning new skills

Volunteering has really helped me to learn new skills. I did lots of courses including ‘Working with Vulnerable Adults,’ ‘Epilepsy and Autism Awareness’ and ‘Food Hygeine’.

I got a certificate for each course which gave me the proof to take to employers that I had completed the course.

Finding work

I recently went on a person-centred planning training day and while I was there, I said I was a volunteer for Scope and that I really wanted a job in care work. When we stopped for a break a woman approached me and said she worked for a company who provided care support.

By the end of the day I had been invited to an interview with them and I am delighted to say they offered me a job. I have to do four days training with them before I start working, and once my checks and references are in place I will be an employee.

I’d definitely recommend people to volunteer for Scope. Especially if, like me, you have a disability and are looking to move into employment. Volunteering definitely helped me to get the job. I had the training, experience and skills the employer was looking for.

Find out more about volunteering at Scope.

Read more of our 100 stories so far, and see how you can get involved