We think that Volunteering is great
But don’t just take our word for it….
Read about what makes volunteering so rewarding for some of the people who give their time and talent to Bucks’ organisations.
Community Impact Bucks
Name John May
Volunteer role Expert Volunteer (Research and Data Analysis)
How long have you been volunteering I have been volunteering with Community Impact Bucks since the spring of 2016.
Why do you volunteer Following a wide and varied career at a strategic level including management consultancy, voluntary sector management and social research I wanted to keep my professional skills alive and to continue to develop and use them to the benefit of the community. I wanted to continue to be productive.
What attracted you to this role The role utilises my strengths and I had experience of the community and voluntary sector. There is a good match between CIB’s need for strategic and analytical input and what I wanted to do as a volunteer. CIB and I are a good fit.
What are the best bits of volunteering Being intellectually challenged. Recognition that my skills and experience are useful. Knowing that my input is a weighted and valued contribution to the work of CIB. Being part of the team.
What are the most challenging bits of volunteering In general the main challenge of volunteering is fitting the demands of the role with other commitments – but it can and does provide a welcome break from those commitments. One of the challenging and satisfying parts of this role is working with CIB to define the parameters of a project and how to best deliver what is required.
What do you gain either personally or professionally from volunteering Being retired I confess to missing the sense of a purpose in life beyond the immediate family, of being part of something that is bigger than me and that is socially useful. Volunteering provides a way to do this while at the same time leaving time for other aspects of life.
Would you recommend volunteering and if so why I recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to keep their skills alive and be socially useful.
Name: Ira Bhattacharya
Why did you want to become a trustee?: I had been a school governor for over 10 years which I had thoroughly enjoyed, but it was time for me to stand down and look for another challenge. I was already a trustee with two other charities but I didn’t know I wanted a third trusteeship until I met Bucks Mind.
What appealed to you about Bucks Mind?: As a trustee I’m able to work with projects and organisations that I’m especially interested in; everyone at Bucks Mind is passionate about what they do and we all want to make a difference.
What are the challenges?: Time is a challenge as you need to prepare for meetings, but it’s not impossible. This is what I want to do so it’s not a burden.”
What are the best bits?: Being a trustee is not like a job; it’s something I want to do. It makes me really happy and gives such a sense of fulfilment when I can see the positive outcomes for the effort I make. I’d recommend being a trustee to anyone.
British Red Cross
Name Gill Mackenzie
Volunteer role Mobility Aids and Home From Hospital Volunteer at the British Red Cross
How long have you been doing it 9 years.
What do you do in your volunteer role? The Mobility Aids Service provides wheelchair delivery and short-term loans of equipment to vulnerable people. A Mobility Aids Volunteer is on hand to take calls and enquiries from people and demonstrate how to use and look after the wheelchair. The Home from Hospital Service enables people to live as independently as they can at home, and builds trusting relationships with people to help them regain their confidence and well-being. Volunteers visit service users on their arrival home from hospital, keep them company and help with practical tasks like shopping, collecting prescriptions and light meal preparation.
Why did you want to volunteer? I was looking for something to do when I left work at the age of 65.
What are the best bits of being a volunteer? I like meeting and helping people, and I really feel I can help and make a difference.
What are the challenging bits? I don’t stop to think before I help someone, but I know that my manager always checks the clients out before I make any home visits (for Home from Hospital role), so I know I’m always safe.
How does volunteering make you feel? It makes me feel really good about helping others.
Would you recommend it to other people? Yes, definitely. And I’ve asked lots of other people if they can volunteer too!
Gavin, Volunteer Team Gardener – Community Impact Bucks’ Gardening and Befriending Project
Why did you become a volunteer? I first started volunteering to build my conference. I was only going to do it for a short while but once I started, I really liked it so I stayed.
What first appealed to you about your volunteer gardener role? I enjoy all aspects of gardening so I wanted to something that I would like. Also, the opportunity to learn more about plants and horticulture interested me.
What are the best bits of being a volunteer? Helping people that need it the most, you can see it really does make a difference to them. The social side of gardening is good, I enjoy being part of a team.
How does volunteering make you feel? I feel really good; it makes me feel fulfilled. The gardening I do is worthwhile because I am making a difference.
Would you recommend it to other people? Yes, I would. If you have time on your hands or you would like to get back to work this is the best way to do it. It helps you both mentally and physically. I have learned so much about gardening and taking care of plants.
Buckingham & Stowe Running Club
Name: Chris Usher
Role: Chairman of Buckingham & Stowe Running Club & Run Leader
How long have you been doing it?: About 3 years.
What do you do in your volunteer role?: Chair committee meetings, liaise with numerous organisations, lead the club in moving it forward, hold training sessions etc.
Why did you want to volunteer?: Largely because my daughter and son-in-law kept on about how the only thing the club did was go for runs and what it could become. At the following AGM, I realised we hadn’t had a chairman for over a year – no-one had the time or inclination to do the job – so I volunteered!
What appealed to you about this role?: It was a small, but very friendly club and many people had good ideas as to how it could improve. I saw the potential and wanted to help us develop.
What are the best bits of being a volunteer?: Variety! Always something else to focus on; the club has quadrupled in size, we’ve won the Leap Club of the Year award, and recently we organised the inaugural Buckingham Half Marathon which was a tremendous success, raising over £5000 for charity. It is particularly pleasing to see existing members take great pride in their club and participate in our events (over 100 volunteered at our half marathon), volunteering themselves to lead runs, organise socials etc. It is also great to see new people, who have not been serious runners before, join the club and get so much enjoyment from it.
What Do you think you gain from volunteering, either professionally or personally?: A great deal of satisfaction and fulfilment. I have also been on the Leadership in Run Fitness and Coaching in Running Fitness courses and am now a qualified coach!
How does volunteering make you feel?: You get a nice warm feeling when you see people enjoying themselves and achieving their goals.
Wycombe Hockey Club
Name: Heidi Rutherford
How long have you been doing it?: 4 years.
What do you do in your volunteer role?: In a nutshell, I check to make sure every volunteer in our club has completed a safe guarding course & DBS check and that the coaches are first aid trained, helping people book on to the necessary courses and keeping up to date with who has what qualifications. I also deal with any welfare complaints or problems that might arise.
Why did you want to volunteer?: Playing hockey is my main hobby and since I have played for a local club (27 years) I have always volunteered. There’s so many volunteer roles and it doesn’t matter what age you are. I volunteered for welfare officer four years ago because, at the time, the position was vacant; it is vital role within the club so I stepped in to fill the position.
What appealed to you about this role?: In my opinion, welfare and protecting juniors and vulnerable people is the most important role in the club.
What are the best bits of being a volunteer?: It’s a good thing to do, it makes you feel you are doing your bit to help the club. It takes your mind off other aspects of your life.
What Do you think you gain from volunteering, either professionally or personally?: Pride; I continue to do it so I must enjoy it.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?: Trying to keep everyone happy is impossible but I hope that what I have done is for the best and completed to the best of my knowledge and ability. Asking or dealing with awkward taboo topics of conversation in regards to incidents that have occurred can be challenging.
Would you recommend it to others?: Yes, definitely. It can help you learn new skills and keeps you busy.
Whiteleaf Beaver Colony
Name: Steve Hatton
Volunteer role: Section leader for Whiteleaf Beaver Colony
What do you do in your volunteer role?: As the section leader, I have responsibility for planning and running the weekly Beaver sessions, as well as managing the group’s admin and contributing to the overall running of the Whiteleaf Scout group. I’m also responsible for child protection and making sure all the Beaver leaders have the appropriate training.
Why did you want to volunteer?: I commute into London for work so wanted to do something in my local community. I’d been looking around for the right thing for a while before the opportunity to join the new Beaver colony came up and I jumped at it!
What are the best bits of being a volunteer?: It’s got to be the young people. They’re enormous fun and it’s great to help them learn new things that they wouldn’t learn at school like reef knots or first aid. It’s a fantastic feeling seeing them excited about taking on these new skills.
What Do you think you get out of your volunteering role?: There’s real enjoyment in seeing the Beavers enjoying themselves and I feel much more connected to and engaged with my local community. It makes me feel good; it’s quite demanding but I get out of it much more than I put in.
Steve’s photo was taken by Nick, one of the members of his photography group
Role: I help to run Enrych’s photography group.
How long have you been doing it?: Coming up for two years.
What do you do in your volunteer role?: I work with adults with disabilities, mainly head injuries. We go out twice a month, take photos and then review and discuss what we’ve taken the following week.
Why did you want to volunteer?: It wasn’t something which I had even considered when I was working full-time; however when I was made redundant after a 40-year career in woodworking, I had more time on my hands. Knowing I was passionate about photography, my Job Centre coach suggested I volunteer and put me in touch with Enrych. The rest is history!
What are the best bits of being a volunteer?: It’s very rewarding for me; some of the pictures they take are really humbling. The group have improved ten-fold and are now taking lovely pictures.
What Do you think you gain from your volunteer role?: It has led to a career change for me; I’m now a professional photographer and it’s given me the confidence to stand up in front of people and I now mentor other students.
Would you recommend volunteering?: Definitely. If you’re passionate about a hobby there is someone out there who shares your passion but could benefit from your help in doing it.
Role: Age UK befriender
Describe your role: I provide friendly conversation and companionship on a regular basis to someone I now consider a friend, to help combat loneliness in later life.
How often do you volunteer?: Once a week, occasionally twice.
How does volunteering make you feel?: Happy, helpful, inspired, grateful, positive, social
why did you choose this role?: To give something back to the community. Time costs me nothing but means the world to someone else.
Why would you recommend volunteering?: You have the opportunity to share in someone’s unique life and that is a gift. You can learn from that person, laugh and share stories, experiences and be inspired. Spend a few hours in the company of someone amazing – it is something you may want when you are older.
Big Thank You to All the Buckinghamshire Independent Visitors
The National Youth Advocacy Service is a national children’s rights charity that works in partnership with local authorise across the UK to provide Independent Visitors (IV’s) to children and young people in local authority care. IV’s are befrienders, matched with a child or young person. They are a long term friend that visits their young person on a monthly basis and takes them out and involves them in positive actives. IVs are volunteers of all ages from 18+, they are there to listen, support and advice the young people they are matched with and to have some fun away from the everyday lives young people in care have.
IV Natasha’s words about being an IV
Take yourself back to being ten years old, remove your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your pets out of that memory. Already inconceivable for me. One step further and imagine the place you wake up every morning is not ‘your home’ but somewhere you have been placed, and every single adult in your life is there because they are being paid to do a job.
This is the reality for many children in care. I put my hand up to volunteer as an IV for NYAS 18 months ago and whilst it can be heart wrenchingly difficult I’ve not regretted it for a second. I’m super proud that I’ve been supporting a kid through his journey by being a stable unpaid presence in his life, whilst having super fun with lots of crazy activities on our visits & outings!
Natasha ran a half marathon in May to raise funds for NYAS, thank you Natasha for being a great IV and helping nyas with your fund raising
NYAS Bucks has over 50 volunteers and is always looking for more as our waiting list of young people is always very long.
For more information email email@example.com or call 01296 432540
Again a Big thank you to all our volunteers you all do an amazing job.
Name Tori Roddy
Volunteer role Trustee and vice-chair of Bucks Mind.
What do you do as a trustee? I’m involved in the governance of the charity; it’s mainly strategic level involvement but as it’s a small charity there is some hands-on support too.
Why did you want to volunteer? My background is in marketing and fundraising so I thought I had some relevant skills to offer. I already had a connection with Bucks Mind and thought they’d be a good fit; initially I thought I’d just give them time and professional advice when they needed it, I hadn’t realised they were so desperate for trustees!
What are the best bits of being a trustee? Seeing the difference that Bucks Mind makes. I can see the services in action and, via reports at board meetings, see the genuine difference we are making to people’s lives.
What are the challenging bits? I have a full-time job which is quite demanding so it can be hard to find the time, but the charity is very well run and incredibly supportive of all its volunteers.
What do you think you gain from volunteering, either personally or professionally It’s rewarding to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and get experience of working at board level in a small organisation where the challenges are very different to those I see in my work.
Would you recommend being a trustee? Definitely. Without a doubt you get more from it than you put in. Although the time commitment can be a challenge, if you’re passionate about something you can help an organisation deliver real benefits and that’s amazing.
You can also hear all about our Discover Volunteering campaign with Mix96 where the radio presenters tried volunteering for the day.
‘After working in a high profile role and a building up a career that spanned 20 years I felt very ‘lost’ when I was medically retired. My volunteering role has helped me restore my self confidence and I know that my contribution to the Chilterns MS Centre really does make a difference. I used to work to make money, now I work to change lives.’ – Catherine Golds, PR Manager, Chilterns MS Centre
‘Volunteering with Aylesbury CAB gives me scope to help others directly with their life challenges… If you’ve some time to spare and want a stimulating environment where you learn something new every single time you are working then CAB is the place to try. “Use it or lose it” on the brain power front.’ – Kim Edwards, Gateway Assessor/Level 2 Adviser, Aylesbury Citizens Advice Bureau
‘I’m looking to move away from my previous work experience and into a new job supporting others. I feel this is giving me the confidence to do that as well as increasing my communication skills.’ – Tony – volunteers at Age UK
‘I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which is a muscle wasting disease and my mobility has decreased steadily over the years. The benefit of getting out volunteering putting myself to good use is not only good for the cause, but good for my muscles. It has also kept my brain working and makes me happy to be helpful to Oasis Partnership and be with such friendly people. I am so grateful for everything you and volunteering has done for me, finding me the perfect match both people wise and access wise, it could not have been better. I enjoy it too!’ – Charlotte – volunteers at the Oasis Partnership
‘‘Volunteering for me has been a way to help me increase my confidence. I’m quite a shy person but the whole experience has been so positive for me. I received great advice through VolunteeringBucks, who found Enrych Bucks for me based on my interests. I really enjoy my Friday nights and love seeing just how much fun Rickie has and consider him to be a real friend” – Ben – volunteers at Enrych Bucks