The Difference Volunteers Make
At Bridges into Work 2, we know the difference volunteering makes to our participants and the organisations they work with. The last year has been difficult for everyone, but our participants have been determined to continue with their volunteer placements where possible. Two have agreed to share their stories.
Hayley started volunteering at Georgetown Primary School, Tredegar, in February 2020. She quickly fitted in with the school routine and became part of the team. Hayley is thoroughly enjoying her time in the classroom which has been a useful insight into the valuable role teaching assistants have in children's lives.
With the support of the school, Bridges into Work 2 and Aneurin Leisure Adult Community Education, Hayley, who has been unable to work for a few years due to ill health, is now well on the way to becoming a qualified teaching assistant. She is looking forward to completing her course in July and finding paid employment when she is able to.
Another participant, Mrs J, came to Bridges into Work 2 after being told she needed to find employment. At 63 years of age, Mrs J had never worked, had very little confidence and was extremely nervous about the situation she was now facing.
Her Development Officer discussed volunteering as a way of building her confidence and, after talking to Mrs J about the skills she had developed over the years, suggested a placement at Beaufort Theatre in the cafe.
Mrs J agreed and despite being nervous about meeting new people, really benefitted from the placement. She enjoyed 'getting out of the house' and becoming part of the team. Mrs J helped out around the theatre with cleaning tasks, and after completing a Level 2 Food Safety qualification through Bridges into Work 2, put her skills to use preparing buffets for functions and serving customers in the cafe.
Mrs J feels that her confidence has improved, and she is looking forward to returning to the theatre as a volunteer when the COVID 19 restrictions allow. She is continuing to develop new skills and wants to attend Emergency First Aid at Work, as she thinks this would be useful at the theatre and when looking for employment. She also wants to attend a basic computer course to improve her digital skills.
As part of National Volunteers' Week 2021, Bridges into Work 2 would like to acknowledge our participants who volunteer for self-development and to help others. We enjoy watching them benefit from volunteering and we will continue to support them on their journey.