12 amazing volunteers

5 January 2019

On the twelfth and final day of Christmas, we chatted with 12 of our amazing volunteers.

Josh

Josh, one of our volunteersJosh is one of our incredible speaker volunteers.

He said:

‘Being a speaker volunteer is great, it has helped me gain experience and to educate society about disability, this is important as a lot of people don’t have the education on the topic "disability" it’s also been great to help fundraise money for Leonard Cheshire.’

Ian

Ian is a fantastic volunteer at Chiltern House, regularly visiting the home to entertain residents, staff and volunteers.

He also sings and dances across Gerrards Cross for impromptu bucket collections, and generally brings a smile to everyone’s face!

Ross and Maddie

Ross and Maddie holding their certificatesTwo of our young volunteers at Cheshire House Inverness, Ross and Maddie, were recognised at the Saltire awards event for their outstanding contribution to volunteering.

Ross volunteers on a weekly basis and is a major part of the Cheshire House Inverness team, he helps out with the swimming groups and all other activities in day service.

Maddie is the force behind all our fab lip sync videos and has planned each of these in her own time and come in on her school holidays to film them.

Ross said:

‘I really didn’t expect to win this, it’s great, I really enjoy volunteering, I love being part of the team at Cheshire House.’

Susan

Susan

Susan has been volunteering rchive since 2012.

Within her role at the archive Susan, along with a team, are responsible for collecting photographs, film and audio-recordings.

By collecting and curating these historical sources the archivists are able to keep a record of both the histories surrounding Leonard Cheshire services, and the histories of individuals who have, and continue, to make up Leonard Cheshire.

Speaking about her experiences as a volunteer for Leonard Cheshire Susan told us:

‘I have gained new skills – I have been sent on training courses and shown how to do certain tasks by the archivist.

‘I feel it keeps my brain working and improves my confidence. I have also made new friends and find going into the services very uplifting as they are such positive places. My whole experience is rewarding.’

Euan

Euan with Albert who lives at one of our servicesEuan has been volunteering as a befriender in Glasgow for over two years — this is his story:

‘When I think back to how nervous I was to be starting my volunteering, I couldn’t have anticipated how much I would learn and the friends I would make over the next two years with Leonard Cheshire.

‘I have volunteered in a befriender role, with the same gentleman, for the past two years.

‘Throughout, both of us have gone on outings and day trips together.

‘These have included trips from Glasgow to his home town of Paisley in which I got to meet his sister; a city sight-seeing bus tour of Glasgow; a tour of Hampden Stadium; events such as the European Swimming Championships at Tollcross Swimming Pool in August.’

Colin

Colin wearing a santa hatColin volunteers as a speaker.

He said:

‘Going out and about speaking at these events is really rewarding and helps me to bring awareness about disability to people.

‘It gets me out and about, I get to see different places, and I think people are quite surprised just how funny I am.

‘I really like having a laugh, and I make people laugh so they know its ok to laugh with me not at me. I also enjoy meeting all the ladies and they love me too.’

Naomi

NaomiNaomi is a research volunteer who has made a big impact supporting our volunteering team.

She told us she has gained, ‘experience and valuable skills needed to produce reports for the research.

I feel that I am growing in confidence and that I am improving both personally and professionally.

Rebekah

Rebekah fundraising for Leonard CheshireRebekah joined her local Leonard Cheshire youth group ‘Buzz Club’ in 2007 — a group providing a varied program of fun activities for disabled young people — Rebekah Irvin was initially apprehensive. However, by 2014 not only was Rebekah still attending the club she was also acting as young leader.

As part of this role Rebekah was able to provide support and assurance for other young people attending the club. Indeed, having previously attended the group as a client Rebekah felt in a unique position to support attendees, Rebekah explaining, ‘Because of my own learning disability, I can relate to the young people and understand them.’

Volunteering for Leonard Cheshire has had a huge impact on Rebekah’s life. Rebekah telling us that her time with the charity had led to her gaining, ‘Friendships with other volunteers, growing confidence year on year, training opportunities and personal development.’

Additionally, Rebekah was pleased to report to us that her time volunteering had led to paid employment as a support worker within Leonard Cheshire.

Liam

Liam winning an award for his volunteering dedicationLiam has been volunteering with Leonard Cheshire for 12 years. In that time his primary focus has been the sow and grow project.

The sow and grow project has grown in those 12 years from a small group of four or five customers using a rented small poly tunnel to the garden we have today.

Liam’s vison and long term thinking has created a garden that can accommodate 30 customers, with complete accessibility for all mobility and sensory needs. Liam has now clocked up almost 2,000 hours volunteering.

Ursula one of the customers who is a regular at the garden said:

‘Liam is good fun, always has a smile and is up for a laugh.’

Richard

Richard chatting to another man Set up in April 2017, Square Pegs is an activity group designed to help people with disabilities or long-term conditions that have led them to feel socially isolated.

Meeting once a week the group provides a variety of opportunities for members to gain new experiences and meet new people.

What’s more, the group has been the catalyst for a thriving online community where members are able to keep up to date with upcoming activities and to keep in touch with friends they have made at the group.

On a personal level, the group has had an extremely positive impact on Richards life, who founded the group.

Richard telling us that whilst membership of the group had allowed him to, ‘...try new things without feeling judged.’.

His role of chair of Square Pegs has also been particularly rewarding, telling us that the role, had led to a ‘Massive boost to my self-esteem. On many occasions Square Peg has given me a massive sense of pride!’.

Tomoko

TomokoTomoko is an overseas volunteer from Japan and has been volunteering with lots of our programmes, for three months.

One of the programmes she volunteers at is Discover IT, where she supports disabled people to learn, use and enjoy computers and digital devices.

Tomoko says:

‘I enjoy meeting people with disabilities at IT Centres for supporting them to use computers and IT devices. Each of them has different desires to use computer, so I can give them better support with learning what each of them wants to do and how wants to be helped.’

Want to join our Leonard Cheshire family? Find out what opportunities are near you.

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