IT'S VOLUNTEERS WEEK and to mark it we are holding an open day tomorrow - Tuesday 5th June - for anyone thinking of volunteering with Reachout either now or in the future, or anyone who would just like to find out more about what we do, the ways people can benefit from volunteering with us and the range of skills and experiences that can be put to good use by volunteering with Reachout. Refreshments (ok, and biscuits!) will be provided. We'll be running an informal "Reachout needs YOU!" workshop at 12:30 to explore the role of volunteers at Reachout and how volunteering really can be of mutual benefit.
Anne is one of our current volunteers. Initially she had been put off volunteering after looking into it, because there seemed to be too much red tape, but a chance visit to Reachout convinced her that she had lots she could offer the charity and that our members and programme also had lots to offer her in return. To get the ball rolling with Volunteers Week, Anne, reflected on her experiences:
Last year I was looking for somewhere to volunteer and popped into Reachout, with no previous understanding of what goes on there - I'm glad I did!
I now take an art drop-in group on Tuesday mornings where we chat, participate in a range of art and craft activities and, most importantly, LAUGH! Our group motto is "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work", which was suggested by one of the members, Robert.
Before I started, I asked myself "why volunteer?" - my time at Reachout quickly provided me with these answers:
- To share my skills with those who might appreciate them
- To develop confidence
- To develop my own interests while encouraging others
- To help me understand many social and emotional difficulties in our society
- To be a productive member of the community
- ...The list is endless!
Something I did not expect from volunteering has been my attending several workshops run by professional artists and practitioners at Reachout, tackling crafts I had never tried before. For example, I have learned Needle Felting, Stained Glass, Portrait Painting and most recently Willow Weaving. By attending these workshops I have enjoyed developing my skills as well as generating ideas to use in my Tuesday drop-in sessions.
I have found Andy and Kirsten (Reachout staff) very welcoming and all members and carers very friendly towards me. I would recommend Reachout as an interesting, rewarding and inclusive place to volunteer...and of course any volunteers to help me on a Tuesday will be made more than welcome!
It's been fantastic having Anne here to work with our MAKE (Supported Adults) group who drop-in on a Tuesday morning, long may it continue! From someone who initially wasn't sure if she'd have much to offer, Anne is a real asset to Reachout, so to Anne and our other volunteers we say a big THANK YOU!
Reachout believes in helping develop the skills of its workers, including volunteers, as those skills can only benefit our members and the wider community we are part of. By encouraging our volunteers to participate in our workshops along with members, we hope that those skills or the confidence gained might be shared with individuals in the community who aren't yet ready to attend Reachout themselves.
Anne will be here at our open day session tomorrow (5th) between 10am and 1:30pm to answer any questions you might have and to help with our "Reachout needs YOU!" poster workshop. Come along, there's no pressure to commit to anything!