As part of Volunteers Week 2022 across the Recovery Focus group of charities, Judith, Peer Support Volunteer Coordinator at Richmond Fellowship’s Wakefield service explains what the role means to her.
“I feel truly privileged to work in this role, as our volunteers are such a core feature of the support we provide here at Richmond Fellowship’s Gaslight service in Wakefield.
We are a community-based service and run several groups and drop-ins which are well attended by our members. These could not function without our amazing team of volunteers, and it is my job to recruit, train up, supervise and support.
It is really rewarding and satisfying to see someone grow in confidence and develop their skills as they become part of the volunteer team, sometimes achieving things they never thought possible. It may have started with a tentative enquiry and then an informal chat about what is involved; or it may be someone who has progressed through our 12 week 1:1 support programme and this is the next step on their recovery journey.
I match up volunteers with activities / hobbies they are interested in and if we don’t have a group that fits then we can start a new one – nothing is off limits, you just need to be creative!
Our quarterly newsletter grew out of looking at options to keep busy and engaged through lockdown and now it is a regular feature. I love the variety and challenge of this role and no two days are ever the same.
Since becoming Peer Volunteer Co-ordinator, three volunteers have returned to employment and while we never like to say goodbye, seeing them find their feet and believe in themselves again is both an encouragement and an inspiration. I am very proud to tell you that one of our volunteers recently applied for the job of Community Link Worker and we are now looking forward to welcoming him on board as a fully fledged member of staff!”
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