Aintree University Hospital Volunteer
By Rebecca Watson
Malika has been volunteering at Aintree University Hospital since 2009 as a way of getting experience for a future medical career. She says, “It’s also good to be able to give something back to the community.”
She works in the Accident and Emergency Department giving refreshments to staff and patients, filing for the staff and shadowing doctors. She also helps out on Ward 31 (Acute Medicine for the Elderly) by answering phones, taking samples to the labs, collecting medicine, feeding patients and talking to them and their families. She utilises her passion for music by singing with the patients and keeping them company on the ward.
When asked what she gets out of volunteering, Malika says that it has given her valuable experience of hospital life and improved her people skills: “I get to meet people from so many different cultures and backgrounds.” It has also helped her learn how to cope with stressful environments and situations.
Malika sums up her volunteer work in three words: “Different, exciting, and inspiring!”
Sefton Narrow Boat Volunteer
By Rebecca Watson
Jo has been volunteering for a year with the Sefton Narrow Boat Committee on the Pride of Sefton narrow boat. The narrow boat was launched in 1979 to serve Sefton's disadvantaged and disabled residents and it has been travelling on the Leeds Liverpool canal ever since. Jo volunteers on the boat for 2 days a week when he isn’t at college, sometimes doing 7 days at a time during the summer holidays. After being trained by the boat’s skipper, Frank, Jo is able to drive and turn the boat, as well opening locks and swing bridges. He got involved with the narrow boat as ‘something new to try. I seemed to enjoy it.’
In addition to his wonderful work on the Pride of Sefton, Jo is now setting up a project of his own. Jo explains: ‘They’ve opened up a new canal link to Liverpool that cost millions about a year ago. A boat went up it and came back without its propeller because of all the filth in the canal’. Jo wants to apply for funding to dredge the bottom of the canal, as well as cleaning the canal path.
IT Tutor, Trustee & Hospital Volunteer
Andrew had to leave work in 2004 to look after his sick wife. A couple of years later, when she was put in care, Andrew used volunteering as a way of helping him get his life back together.
He enquired about volunteering through Sefton Carers, the organisation that had supported him while he was caring for his wife. They put him in touch with Aintree Hospital, where he still volunteers.
Since then Andrew has been keeping himself busy in a number of voluntary roles from IT Tutor to Trustee. Andrew says, “Volunteering can re-charge your batteries and shows you another angle to life.”
“I enjoy helping people, meeting people and I enjoy organising myself around various volunteering roles. It gives your day a kind of purpose. It gives you purpose in life. And sometimes we need that purpose in life, especially if you’ve been active.”
Guider and Charity ShopVolunteer
Rebecca started volunteering as a way of getting back into work after a break due to mental illness. Being a qualified nursery nurse, she wanted to refresh her skills working with children, so she became a volunteer Guider at the local Girlguiding group.
She says, “I’m quite a sociable person so I like being with people. I get a lot of pleasure from helping the children. I like seeing their little faces light up. I find them so innocent.”
Rebecca also volunteers at her local Lions shop. “I enjoy it because it gets me out. It’s something to do in my free time and I’m giving back to the community. It’s better than wasting your time doing nothing. And I like meeting people.”
When asked to sum up her volunteering experience in one word, she said, “Challenging – but in a good way. Enjoyment. Freedom.”
Margaret joined the Churchtown Christian Visitors about 12 years ago when she was looking for something to do in her free time.
She says, “The philosophy behind the organisation is one of friendship and support. We provide companionship for older and housebound people.”
“The people that you meet are so interesting. And it’s really nice to hear people’s stories, about their families and their lives.”
As a vinvolved volunteer, Matt enjoys volunteering in a number of roles - from helping run a local youth group, to encouraging students at his school to get involved in drama. He also helped out with vinvolved's one-off opportunities and has recently reached 1,000 hours of volunteering by supporting the 2008 World Firefighter Games, hosted by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
Matt's favourite role during the games was using his Spanish and French language skills, as a translator for the competitors and their families. "I had a great laugh with the Spanish families who were nice and gave me loads of little badges that I just couldn't resist. I enjoyed using my linguistic skills, helping young children who were learning to speak English and explaining where everything was in the city."
Matt signed up to volunteer at the World Firefighter Games because it was such a major event, with people from around the world participating and he wanted to do his bit for Capital of Culture year. He said, "I didn't want to look back and regret not being involved."
Carol started volunteering about 3 years ago, after her son sadly died, and she found it both therapeutic and relaxing. Carol is now a key member of the Green Gym Project at an allotment in Crosby, which encourages people to get fit and learn about organic growing through gardening.
Along with the other project leader, Carol maintains the allotment, supports other volunteers and welcomes groups of visitors throughout the year.
“My family know that if I’m not at home, I’ll be here. It has been a lifeline to me and I’m so glad I came. I get fresh air, exercise, a laugh with the other volunteers. We all share the tasks and we all get to taste the produce! I would recommend it to anyone.”
Animal Care Worker
David has come along way since first volunteering at Animals in Need 3 years ago. Before volunteering, David was very shy and found it difficult to communicate due to Asperger's syndrome. A couple of years later, he was an active volunteering ambassador, regularly participating in meetings and helping organise social events for Volunteer Centre Sefton's youth volunteering programme.
David first found out about volunteering at College. He thought it sounded interesting and wanted to try something new, so applied to be an volunteer at Animals in Need, an animal refuge in Melling. Even though it takes David one and a half hours to travel to his volunteering placement each way, including two buses and a 2 mile walk, he has been volunteering there once a week for the past 3 years and really enjoys it. He looks after the animals and cleans the pens.
David says, “My favourite job is taking the dogs for a walk. Last week I got to name one of the new dogs. I named her Jenny”.