15. Jun, 2016

#IvolunteerBecause

Due to family circumstances just over one year ago, I had to give up my paid employment, I became a carer for my husband. As well as being a mum to three children aged 3, 5 and 6 years old.

It was a huge life change for me as, I'd always worked since leaving school and I returned to work after each maternity leave too. I felt torn with the guilt and shame of applying for benefits to stay-at-home, yet it was becoming extremely difficult to manage my work hours, my husband's care and looking after our children as he couldn't.

I have a strong work ethic, rarely have had time off being unwell, I was in my last job for four years and had only two "sick days"!

It had been a personal struggle, the previous eighteen months, putting four people's needs before my own left me with no time, space or even money for myself. The many GP and hospital appointments with my husband, the nurses and support workers that visited him in the home , also the daily care that became my duty.

I had experienced months of extreme anxiety and, very high blood pressure due to my stress levels, which resulted in a panic attack and my first trip in an ambulance to A and E. It was time for me to decide what to do, that be the best for  the family as a unit. 

I needed to find something for me so I thought of home working, I had recently qualified Level 3 Business Administration, I thought I could do that but wasn't sure if I could commit to a contract of set paid hours.

I started to look for volunteer roles for admin and computing. I started a local community Facebook Page and taught myself lots about how it works and the features a business would use. The page likes and followers grew by 100 per month, it was amazing. I signed up to a "Facebook for Business" course and learnt lots more.

The volunteer role I started doing with Motherwell CIC was home working typing documents, I then managed their Facebook page which grew by 50% of likes and followers in the six months I did that. My role and duties have changed since and I enjoy the variety of tasks I do. I have designed social media images, leaflets and posters, edited website, sent and responded to emails, set up this blog page, managed the pinterest page. 

The volunteer role I do with Motherwell CIC is office based, home working and in the community. As my husband's health was improving, I was able to and willing to undertake other duties and, also lucky enough that the Directors of Motherwell saw my enthusiasm, entrusting me with many additional tasks. I have attended networking events and community days with the team. I have done additional training and I have recently started sourcing funding bids. I have worked on a community project titled mums the word, a multi-generational project that was in six venues, with a variety of topics and activities which engaged nearly 80 people.

 I vounteer because 

I greatly benefit from using my skills and leaning new ones.

I enjoy working in a team and in the community.

I can make a difference in the time I give to others.

I work in the short hours I have the children in school and I can work from home too.

I need something just for me that I can focus on.

I ask weekly for a to-do list which I time manage myself.

I have found inspiration and a work place that is a caring place to be.

My first tasks for Motherwell was 4 August last year, I've loved my volunteer role and how the Directors have created a warm, welcoming and caring work place.

Natalie