National Volunteers’ Week – “Don’t hesitate to get involved”

Amina has recently started volunteering for Scope as a Face 2 Face parent befriender in East London. As part of our celebrations for National Volunteers’ Week, she talks about the best bits of being a volunteer and why anyone thinking about volunteering with Scope should go for it.

What do you do in your role as a Face 2 Face befriender?

As a new Face 2 Face parent befriender, I have recently befriended a parent of a disabled child. I did training for around eight weeks, and then was matched with my befriendee soon afterwards. We’ve been meeting up to talk once a week for the last six weeks. If we can’t meet up for any reason, we’ll talk on the phone, or by text message. I make sure I keep in touch with her to find out how she’s doing and to make sure she’s got someone she can talk to.

Amina, a woman smiling for the cameraWhat inspired you to get involved with Scope as a volunteer?

I heard about the Face 2 Face befriending scheme that was happening in my area and I thought it sounded really interesting. I thought it would be nice to give my time and to share my own experiences as a parent of a disabled child. I wanted to help other people in the same situation as me. I hadn’t done anything like this before, and I wanted to try something completely new and to do something useful.

What have been the highlights of your time as a volunteer so far?

It has been a really rewarding experience. The first highlight has been meeting my befriendee, she’s lovely. It’s been nice meeting her and to feel like I’m doing something to help her. The other big highlight was meeting my fellow parent befrienders. We did our befriending training at the same time and are all still in touch. The training was fun, everyone there had similar experiences to me, and we just ended up getting on really well. We support each other, we share tips and advice, and it’s just a good way of supporting each other and getting to know other befrienders. It’s been great.

What would you say to anyone who’s considering volunteering with Scope?

Don’t hesitate to get involved. You really will get a lot out of it. It feels great knowing that you can use your own experiences to help others in the same situation. Throughout your role, you get a lot of support from Scope, and from other volunteers. I just want to say, don’t hesitate to do it!

Feeling inspired?

Are you interested in becoming a Scope volunteer like Amina? More information on volunteering with Scope, and ways in which you can get involved, can be found on our volunteering pages.

Find out more information about Scope’s befriending and mentoring services

“Be a bit brave, take part and go for it.” Jack, the volunteering star

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

This Volunteers’ Week, we spoke to one of our volunteering and Scope for Change stars, Jack Welch, who gives much of his time to a number of different charities.

As part of 30 Under 30, he talks about how volunteering has benefited him. Several of the organisations he has volunteered for have also sent in some glowing testimonials.

Volunteering is a way to explore new opportunities and different ways of working. You can also meet new people and develop your networks. It’s the variety that’s always the most exciting!

I think there is a lot out there for people to get stuck into. Volunteering for charities doesn’t just mean volunteering in a charity shop – there are loads of different things you can do.

For me, volunteering has helped me to build on social skills, communicate with others and be a bit more independent. You really develop that over time. Although it’s volunteering, there’s an expectation of having a skillset that you need to commit yourself to.

Jack, a young disabled man, smiles and talks to a room

It gave me the opportunity to move away from some of the troubles I had at secondary school. I’m not as anxious as I used to be. It’s been great to have a bit more independence away from home and the family. I’ve really expanded and broadened my networks beyond the safety of my closest relatives.

It’s really changed me. Five or six years ago, the thought of using public transport would have terrified me but now it’s just second nature. I travel quite a lot for my volunteering.

For someone thinking about volunteering, I would say go for it. If you spot something that might develop your skill set, help you move into employment or meet new people, get involved!

Be a bit brave, take part and go for it.

Testimonials for Jack

Jack has left a lasting impression at all of the charities and organisations he has worked for.  Below are just a handful of the glowing testimonials given to us by some of these organisations.

Jessica Benham, Outreach Officer for Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

“Jack has been working with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for four years. He has attended workshops, engaged with Holocaust survivors and raised awareness about the Holocaust and subsequent genocides amongst his peers. Jack has been an exceptional member of the Youth Champion Board, contributing to the development of the Youth Champion programme to ensure that people aged 14-24 are empowered to hold their own activities for Holocaust Memorial Day.”

Find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Dave Thompson, the Director of Dorset Youth Association

“We first met Jack many years ago as a quiet and shy young man.

Through the years we have seen him develop and grow as he has become involved in more and more community projects. Jack was heavily involved in our Young Remembers project which looked at the History of Dorset Youth Association (DYA) over 70 years. Jack and his peers were so passionate about their heritage and wished to continue to meet as a group to volunteer. Therefore staff at DYA attracted new monies to support the group in a major fundraising initiative. This investment attracted almost £40,000 and led to a new youth led project Walking in their Shoes.

Jack is always polite and pleased to volunteer his time to help others.”

Find out more about Dorset Youth Association.

Amber DeRosa, Participation Officer at the National Children’s Bureau

“Jack has been an active member of Young National Children’s Bureau (YNCB) since 2015. During this time, he has been actively engaged in a range of activities and events including speaking at conferences, debates and meetings, campaigning work and taking part in various discussion groups and consultations.

Jack is a delightful young person to work with. He continually makes valued and thoughtful contributions to NCB’s various programmes of work and through this he genuinely makes a big difference to the lives of other children and young people. He is hugely reliable and very dedicated to the activities which he volunteers to be a part of and is extremely popular across all of NCB!”

Find out more about National Children’s Bureau.

Harris Lorie, Programme Manager for Spirit of 2012

“Jack has been a highly committed and valued member of Spirit of 2012’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP). His contributions in our meetings are measured and thoughtful, drawing on a wide range of experience. He has assessed grant applications sensitively, impressing both other YAP members and the Spirit staff team. Jack volunteers enthusiastically for opportunities that come up, be that visits to our projects or attending a national gathering of youth panels. He always represents Spirit professionally, and creates great communications material for us as well. Thank you Jack!”

Find out more about Spirit of 2012.

Jack, a young disabled man, stands next to a banner which says "Volunteering matters to young people. 96% of volunteers feel better prepared for employment"

Jack is sharing his story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Catch up on all the stories so far on our 30 Under 30 page.

If you’ve been inspired by Jack, take a look at our volunteering opportunities.