‘Volunteering is amazing, it’s better than a hobby…this is real life’…Gary’s Volunteer Journey!

We cannot underestimate the amount of support that people need and the time it can take to increase confidence and trust before people are ready to successfully volunteer.

Involving volunteers that might need a bit more support can seem a challenging prospect, but the benefits to organisations, individuals, and the wider community are immense. Volunteering provides a platform to increase social skills, mental health, self-esteem, and confidence, as well as supporting a better work-life balance and giving volunteers a sense of achievement and purpose.

When our VAST Volunteering Project Officer Gloria met with Gary, they completed an inclusive volunteering questionnaire which asks questions on wellbeing, loneliness, and skills. The travel questionnaire that followed asked questions around how Gary felt about travelling around the city and what barriers he faced.

Gary said that he felt nervous, and wanted to do something, he just wasn’t sure what direction he wanted to take. He went on to explain that he had previously tried CBT, but it didn’t make sense. But this time was different, he really felt motivated to make a change.

Together, Gary and Gloria looked at some suitable volunteering opportunities, and as soon as Gary saw Saltbox’s ‘Carelink Service Volunteer’ role he said, “that’s the one!” With Gary’s permission we passed Gary’s details on to Saltbox, and he soon met with the team to start the volunteering process. Gary remained in contact with us throughout this process and Gloria was available to provide support whenever he needed it.

Since starting his placement with Saltbox, Gary has said that volunteering in this position has been a “godsend.” Gloria will continue to support Gary if he feels like he needs it, but rest assured Gary loves his new volunteering position and will continue to thrive!

Quote from Gary:

“Through the help of Gloria and VAST, I was pointed in the right direction. You cannot put into words, I feel like I’ve been picked up and moved in the right direction, and I feel like I’m on a high.

I feel like the person I used to be from 45 years ago and moving forwards, I would like to gain employment. Volunteering is amazing – it’s better than a hobby…this is real life!”