Get inspired

volunteer-in-kirklees

Befriending an older person, mentoring a young one, putting up nets for a soccer school, sorting out the community centre’s social media, pruning trees in the park or joining a one-off litter pick, giving hands-on care for a disabled child or staffing the urn at a lunch club.

These are just a few of the thousands of volunteer opportunities that we publicise through our website, events and text service; we also use social media, leaflets and the national volunteering database, do-it.org.uk.

We give face-to-face advice and guidance to potential volunteers from our base in Huddersfield and weekly sessions at Dewsbury Library. And our mentoring service can help anyone who needs a bit of extra support to get going.

 

  • Natasha - Carers Court
  • Angela - Ruddi's Retreat
  • Ali - Birkby Infant and Junior School
  • Holly - Oxfam
  • Karen - Miscarriage Association
  • Peter - Ings Grove House

Natasha-Carers-Count-224x300How did you first get involved as a volunteer?

I’m currently at University studying for a Masters in Public Health, so I wanted to get out there & get some real life experience to better prepare myself for when I graduate.

As well as this, my Grandma benefitted from the help of a full time carer – and I know how much of a difference that extra help made. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to give something back to a cause very close to my heart.

What types of activities have you been involved in as a volunteer?

My role is based around getting messages out there on behalf of Carers Count – so mainly updating their website (www.carerscount.org.uk) and our social media presence, as well as making sure our event listings are up-to-date.

What is the most satisfying part of your role?

Feeling part of a team and knowing that my efforts are making a difference is very rewarding. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Has your volunteering role provided you with any new skills?

Even though I’m fairly new to the role I’ve already developed new skills in managing website content and reviewing Google Analytics stats. Above all though, I feel a lot more confident.

What message or advice have you got for anyone considering volunteering?

It is important to find a role that you feel passionate about & that will make the most of your existing skills. If you can find a role like that, you’ll never look back!

Angela-Volunteer-StoriesHow did you first get involved as a volunteer?

My friends became volunteers with Ruddi’s Retreat in 2012. I started helping out occasionally by posting mail and doing leaflet drops. I soon found myself at fundraising events dressed up as Micky Mouse, Santa’s helper and Peppa Pig! Doing these things has allowed me to see such joy on children’s faces and parents too! I love it so much!

What other types of activities have you been involved in as a volunteer?

I also do bag packing at supermarkets. It’s wonderful to talk to shoppers about Ruddi’s Retreat and receive donations which always humbles us all at the charity and moves us because of the generosity of the local people. I love taking my daughter to events: as well as being fun, it also teaches her about doing good in life and how to make a difference to others.

What message or advice have you got for anyone considering volunteering?

It really doesn’t matter if you do small occasional tasks as a volunteer and tasks which fit into your everyday life, it will still make a very big difference!  However big or small, it will enrich the lives of people who need your help and at the same time enrich your own life greatly, as it has mine!

Ali-photo1-237x300How did you first get involved as a volunteer?

A friend asked me to volunteer as a school governor and as I had a child at school and was keen to get involved in some way I decided to give it a go.  I knew nothing about education, but wanted to find out how the school worked and how I could contribute and support the school. I found it very interesting, and when my children left I still wanted to carry on.

What type of activities have you been involved as a volunteer?

I regularly attend meetings (there is usually one per half term) and then committee meetings(dealing with things such as finance, building, staff issues and curriculum etc). I like to go in to visit school and see the day to day working but as a governor we are looking at the strategic management rather than the day to day.  We work as a team monitoring the schools progress and setting the schools aims and values.  We also act as a “critical friend” asking questions and checking what’s happening in school overall.

What do you enjoy the most?

I like going in to school and seeing how enthusiastic the children are and watching their progress in school.  It’s a joy to see their  faces when their achievements are recognised at the best work assembies.  It’s also great to see the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff.

What message or advice have you got for anyone considering volunteering?

Have a chat with the Chair of governors and/or Headteacher if there’s a particular school you’re interested in, or speak to someone in the Local Authority School Governor Service.  You do not need any qualifications to be a governor, other than enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education.  You can gain great experience in management, finance or just generally improve your skills.  There’s really good training available through Kirklees Council eg  Governor Induction, Performance Management, Understanding Data and Finances, etc.  I am happy to talk to anyone in more detail about the role. Please call me on 01484 223969.

If you would like to find out more information about becoming a governor  go tohttp://www2.kirklees.gov.uk/community/education-learning/governors/governors-becoming.shtml and you will be able to see a list of Kirklees Council (LA)school governor vacancies.

Or for other governing roles that may be available in schools, speak to the headteacher direct.  Go to  http://www2.kirklees.gov.uk/community/education-learning/school_list.asp for a full list of schools in Kirklees.

What types of activities have you been involved in as a volunteer?

I started volunteering as a shop assistant in an Oxfam shop in January 2011. I had an interest, my background is in textile design, and when I walked past the shop I thought the display looked a bit sad. So I volunteered to improve the window display. As a shop assistant I learned how to deal with people from a variety of backgrounds. I also learnt a lot about recycling, how, why and which textiles are recycled.

What do you enjoy doing the most in your role?

When I moved to Huddersfield I worked as a volunteer helping with the festival shops. Oxfam volunteers sort through tons of donated clothes at its Wastesaver depot in Huddersfield. The Festivals Team find quirky and vintage outfits to sell at festivals like Glastonbury and Bestival. Volunteering with the Festivals Team taught me about logistics like how to set up a temporary shop in half a day, I also learned about merchandising and vintage clothes.

Why did you decide to do voluntary work?

I came to volunteering to improve my career prospects and I’m delighted at how it’s worked out. When a job opportunity came up I was lucky to be in the right place. It was internal applicants only, but as a volunteer I was able to apply. I’m now the Deputy Manager of the Oxfam Online Shop and I specialise in vintage clothes and scarves.

What message or advice have you got for anyone considering volunteering?

If you’re thinking about volunteering my advice is to ask lots of questions about what you’ll be doing in your volunteer role. Set your own agenda of things that you want to do and ask to do them. As a volunteer you tend to get to do lots of bits of things rather than being given overall responsibility, so speak up and you’ll gain invaluable experience

What types of activities have you been involved in as a volunteer?

I am a telephone volunteer and so I speak to people who have experienced miscarriage and who need to talk to someone about it. I would say that on average I receive 2 calls a month. The calls can last any amount of time from ten minutes up to an hour.

What do you enjoy doing most in your role?

People often call and say that they should be “over it by now” or that they feel angry, sad or hopeless. It is good to be able to reassure people that strong feelings are normal. Most people have lots of support from their partner, family and friends but it is often helpful for them to be able to speak to someone who can listen without judgment.

Why did you decide to do voluntary work?

A friend of mine was a volunteer and told me about the Miscarriage Association. I have had two miscarriages myself and thought it would be good to help.

Has volunteering provided you with any new skills or knowledge?

I have learnt more about miscarriage – but more importantly have developed my skills to listen to people deeply and to ask them helpful questions.

What message or advice have you got for anyone considering volunteering?

It’s not very time consuming and it doesn’t cost anything. Don’t hesitate, just do it!

Ings-Grove-House-Peter-InglisPeter is a volunteer at Ings Grove House, a short term respite care home in Mirfield.  He is one of many people that are supported with volunteering opportunities by Kirklees Council.

Peter took part in a taster session at a dementia care home and then took part in a conservation activity with people with learning disabilities.  He found out what volunteering involved and about various activities he could take part in.

What type of activities have you been involved in as a volunteer?

Peter was at first apprehensive and nervous but he was supported through the recruitment process and accompanied along to a visit at Ings Grove House.  He volunteered one day a week, spent his time chatting and befriending residents and quickly began to feel comfortable in the care home environment.  Peter also supports residents to go to the hairdressing session, out walking in the gardens, helps with the tea-trolley and at lunchtimes and gets involved in social activities.

What do you enjoy doing the most in your role?

Peter said  “I get a lot of pleasure from being with the residents, I  am gaining an understanding of their needs and finding out how things work in a care home”.  Vicky Griffin, Acting Manager, said “Peter has really benefited from his volunteering and his confidence continues to grow.  His time here is valued”.

Why did you decide to do voluntary work?

For many years Peter was a market trader, until he found himself out of work and receiving help from Lifeline.   A friend had suggested to Peter working in a social care environment, but he did not know how to get started.  He became aware of volunteer taster sessions being run by Kirklees Council Gateway Volunteer Service and visited one of the Volunteer Co-ordinators to find out more.

Has volunteering provided you with any new skills/knowledge

Peter has taken part in Dementia Awareness training and will soon be doing a First Aid Course and a Movement and Handling Course with the Council’s Gateway Volunteer Service.   He is also hoping to take part in Move More Often Training –  training which is designed to improve people’s physical activity and get them moving about a bit more.   Peter is now hopeful about finding work in the care sector and has recently had his first interview for a job in a care home.