Why do you volunteer?
When I retired I moved to Brighton and I was looking for opportunities to volunteer. I felt I wanted to offer to get involved with one or two of the many organisations in Brighton, looking for people to help them in their programmes. I wanted to volunteer for community groups which seemed worthwhile and were making a difference to people’s lives and were perhaps new to me but where I could use my years of experience in a useful and valuable way. For me sitting back and having a quiet life is just not an option, I volunteer to help others and to help myself.
Why did you choose to support Speak Out in particular?
I first encountered Speak Out at an event on Hove Lawns where local community groups had stalls promoting their work and were looking for Volunteers. I was so impressed by the Speak Out clients who chatted with me about Speak Out and what it meant to them I also talked to Dawn who explained about the sort of work volunteers could become involve with. The idea grew from there and as I looked at other volunteer options Speak Out remained top of my list.
How long have you been volunteering for Speak Out?
I have been volunteering since 2016
What sort of voluntary work are you doing for Speak Out?
I am a citizens advocate working one to one with my advocacy partner.
How has Covid-19 affected volunteering for you?
My advocacy partner and I have been unable to meet since the start of the pandemic. Initially we were in regular contact by phone and then when my partner received a tablet from Speak Out we have been meeting weekly via Zoom. We enjoy chatting together, having a laugh and working on my partners Build a Picture folder. I have still been available to help my partner if she has had anything she has needed support with. I have also been able to talk to my partner’s care home staff to keep up to date with the vaccination programme and other issues.
I have still been in contact with Sarah the Speak Out Volunteer coordinator.
And finally, what is the most rewarding part of volunteering for you?
I love the supportive relationship I have with my partner and the fact that I have been able to work with her make the changes in her life that she has wanted to. I feel it is a privilege to have this role and to be part of the Speak Out family.