Who are you?
I’m James, 32 and from Swindon.
Watching wildlife – especially birds, listening to music, watching sports and gardening.
What experience have you got in volunteering?
I volunteered at Change Grow Live (CGL) in Swindon. It was mainly helping with admin side – paperwork, entering data and typing up, scanning and filing, helping file all of the prescriptions that they did and preparing to give them out. I have also participated in Citizen Science – helping to process scientific data. Similarly I have done stuff with Spring Watch – watching wildlife in garden and counting animals.
What made you first want to start volunteering?
I first wanted to start volunteering as a step forward in to employment. I wanted to gain experience and help build confidence. I also wanted to increase my skills. A worker at Mind recommended coming to a moving on group at the volunteer centre initially, this helped to build my confidence. Mind then helped me to look for volunteering elsewhere and that’s how I started with CGL.
What are your current voluntary activities?
At the moment I volunteer in the volunteer centre in Swindon 3 days a week.
What do you do there?
When people apply for voluntary roles on the do-it website I process their applications. I send emails to volunteers to ask for more information and send on the details to the organisations. I put on quite a lot of roles on to the database that have become available. I also add new organisations to the database if they aren’t there already. Sometimes the role descriptions require further investigation so that I am able to write them. When people have filled in paper forms at drop in sessions I also add these to the system. I also help with the Involve Swindon project – putting together listings for local employee volunteers, researching places in the local area that teams of people could volunteer and collating contact lists, which then creates more opportunities for volunteers to help with.
Plans for future?
I hope to get paid employment, I suppose this is my main plan at the moment.
What would you say to anyone thinking about volunteering? Any advice?
I would encourage them to do it. It’s definitely a good thing to do. For yourself you can gain a lot of experience, self-esteem, confidence and try out new things.. as well as helping charities or local organisations carry out important work.