natasha queens garden party july 2017

“I started volunteering with Volunteering Matters in April 2016 when I decided that I wanted to become a full time volunteer, but wouldn’t be free to do that before November 2016, as it involved moving to another area. I wanted to do more than just what I was doing for work in retail. I love getting to know new people and wanted something new where I could make a difference in people’s lives. I started volunteering for Volunteering Matters One Small Step Befriending Project at The Staying Out project held in The Arc in Stockton.   This is a project for people over 65 who are at risk of unplanned hospital admission, providing social activities and art & crafts. I really enjoyed volunteering there because it had such a wide range of people; and helping the people who attended feel welcome and valued was really important to me. I made lots of new friends and was sad to leave!

I then went on to volunteer full time in Edinburgh for Royal Blind, an organisation for those with vision impairments (services include a School, an after school club, several residential houses and a residential home for the elderly). I was placed at a young adults residential home where I support the young adults in the community and in everyday activities.

I think volunteering can make a huge difference in people’s lives and really change the community that we get involved with. I love volunteering because I get to do something different to my job which I find really rewarding.

Volunteering full-time is a really great opportunity that you don’t get to do everyday! It gets you out of your comfort zone and you get to experience life in a totally new way. When I first started volunteering in Edinburgh it was hard because I had never worked with people with vision impairments or learning disabilities before. Since I’ve started, I’ve learned a whole new set of skills that I never thought I would need or learn in my life. I hope to go on and study health and social care and get further experience because of my time volunteering.”