“I met with Chrissy from the Aspire Project initially, who then referred me to the Patchworking Garden Project. I was going to help out with Administrative work, however Carmel, the Project Leader, suggested that I have a go at something outside. I started clearing brambles and found this surprisingly enjoyable. I then decided to keep doing outside work instead of Admin. I particularly enjoy the woodwork, and since starting there I have built a Bird nesting box, 2 Bat roosting boxes and quite a lot of plant boxes, which then have plants put into and then sold.
Time always goes very quickly and there’s no pressure to do anything. It makes you feel more worthwhile and there is a real sense of fulfilment and a sense of pride in what you are doing. It’s a positive cycle of practical skills and interaction with people. I always go, always look forward to it, and always come back feeling great.
It’s very rare that you find something totally positive, but this is.
It’s been a revelation! I really enjoy it!”
“I began volunteering at the YMCA in Redhill in January 2015, working as a receptionist two mornings a week. Prior to this I had worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS for 15 years until I became ill in 2012, which resulted in being unable to work. The volunteer post was a way of getting back into the habit of working.
The YMCA are used to having volunteers, so have been incredibly supportive and encouraging in their approach. I’ve felt included and been made to feel like one of the team.
As my health has gradually improved I’ve been able to look around for work as a physiotherapist again, and through contacts I made at the YMCA I was put in touch with a private clinic in Crawley who were looking to fill a vacancy. I applied, and found out last week that I was accepted! I start working there next week.
The volunteering that I have done has made all the difference to me. I can honestly say that without it I wouldn’t be returning to work. It’s been fantastic.”