Shaun from Gosberton finds volunteering doesn’t have to be selfless

Volunteer Shaun Allsopp ANL-161102-120203001
Volunteer Shaun Allsopp ANL-161102-120203001
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Volunteering isn’t just about helping others – it can be as much about helping yourself.

Last year alone, nine South Holland jobseekers helped into volunteering roles by Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) went on to find paid employment.

Volunteering can be a route to a current reference, up-to-date experience and an opportunity to develop new skills.

For those who are already in work, retired or unable to manage an employed role, it can be an opportunity to gain confidence, new friends or just try something new and different.

Shaun Allsop (29), of Gosberton, has been long term unemployed due to ill health.

He began volunteering at Chain Bridge Forge – A Living Museum, in Spalding, in September last year and is now a regular helper there.

He said: “I used to struggle even to leave the house. Now I have a routine and I can get on a bus and walk through town and interact with people without feeling insecure.

“It’s allowed me to be creative again. I feel that I now have something to do and I have a passion for something again.

“It is allowing me to be in a supportive environment where I’m able to learn and 
develop at my own pace.

“My long term goal is to find paid employment and until I am ready for that, this allows me to contribute something and do something productive with my time.

“I would say the forge and the people involved there have helped me with a good portion of the improvements in my life. I’ve come off medication that I had been taking for years, lost weight, I am now engaged and have a child on the way.”

Geoff Taylor, director of Chain Bridge Forge – A Living Museum, said: “We wouldn’t survive without volunteers.

“Shaun was a great example of someone who came to us, as many do, in need of a bit of confidence. I’m proud we have been able to help him with that and in turn he has become an asset to us, particularly in terms of helping with our 3D printing.”

Marie Chapman, LCVS senior volunteering and community development officer, said: “Volunteering isn’t just about helping someone else. It’s often a fantastic way to help yourself. Volunteering literally changes lives.

“The benefits include making new friends, learning new skills, sharing your skills and experience and taking positive steps towards helping to gain paid employment.”

• If you’re interested in volunteering or need to recruit volunteers find out more at www.lincolnshirecvs.org.uk, email enquiry@lincolnshirecvs.org.uk or call 01775 718008.

• Members of community groups, not-for-profit organisations and charities are invited to a free workshop to ensure their group is fit to achieve its goals, is sustainable and eligible to apply for funding.

The session, run by LCVS, is designed to help groups carry out a health check of their organisation to ensure it is able to continue and thrive into the future. The free session is 10am to midday, on Monday at South Holland District Council offices, Priory Road, Spalding PE11 2XE.

Booking is essential via www.lincolnshirecvs.org.uk

• Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) is hosting an event for volunteer-involving organisations to discuss and explore the possibilities for sharing skilled volunteers or having combined training events for volunteers.

Marie Chapman, LCVS senior volunteering and community development officer, said: “Recruiting skilled volunteers isn’t easy and training can be costly or difficult to organise.

“We want to create an opportunity for volunteer-involving organisations to discuss these issues and consider solutions around joint training and shared volunteers.”

The event takes place 2pm to 4pm on Monday, February 22, Meeting Room 2, South Holland District Council offices, Priory Road, Spalding PE11 2XE.