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My experience as a volunteer

Reopening after lockdown

Volunteering brings many rewards. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering but just never taken the plunge, or ever considered the benefits it can bring to both yourself and others – then read on! One of our volunteers tells us about their experience helping at The Camrose.

Why I choose to volunteer

I suppose my initial answer is, why not? It seems so right from so many different angles, and not just being altruistic. I have had a fortunate life so far, so when the cut and thrust of paid work finally lost its attraction, it was a no-brainer to take early retirement. But what to do? I was already volunteering in one sphere and explored another in the hope that they would be compatible, but it didn’t work out. So it was pure serendipity that led me to Camrose’s door, just to drop off some unwanted workwear, not even to volunteer. However within days I was doing a six-hour shift exploring skills and abilities that I never knew I had (and also discovering some which I was never going to have!) To be honest, it took several years before I found myself using the experience gained in my career workplace, and there are many skills that I am still battling to acquire now. But it is fun way of continuing to grow once paid work is no longer an option.

Volunteering at the Camrose Centre

The Camrose is very much a ‘people place’ and people are so generous in what they give freely to each other. Yes, there is the teamwork, patience, tolerance and even forgiveness that are shared with humour among volunteers and staff. But that spills over into relationships with the women and men who we meet as clients too. I cannot deny that frustration with some of their behaviours inflicted on those around them do occasionally lead to sharp exchanges of words. But while that applies to a small minority, I don’t believe that there is a single client with whom I have not shared a joke and from whom I have not learned something new.

The value of our volunteers

Each one of us arrives at Camrose with a wide range of talents, some professionally acquired, others learned through family and social lives, and some lurking undetected only to blossom in a very different environment. Of course we all have limitations and flaws too which can be exposed, but because the team at Camrose is focussed on being people who work together to help others, it is natural to help each other to overcome difficulties. I think there is also an element of volunteers being able to select a role that meets their own ambitions and perhaps even being able to use knowledge and capabilities that would be overwhelmed in a work setting.

If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, whether it’s in a client facing, back office or trustee role, please do get in touch we’d love to hear from you!