With this week being Volunteers’ Week, a 23-year-old former Spalding High School student has shared her experience of how volunteering is helping her on the path to a new career.
Kathryn Crawt (23), who grew up in Holbeach, works in a kids’ club on cruise ships.
In January, she decided to focus on volunteering when she is back in South Holland in between trips.
She said: “When I’m home I like to be busy. I trained as a teacher but decided in November I didn’t want to do that and am looking for what I can do next.
“Volunteering is quite a nice way to try out a few different areas to see what area I might like to pursue a career in further down the line.
“And through volunteering I feel like I’m getting closer to knowing what I want to do.
“Working on the cruise ship, I’m away for two months and back for two months and when I’m on the ship I work seven days a week.
“Volunteering gives me a chance to do something with my time off but still have more control over my time than if I did additional paid work.
“I’m interested in speech therapy and although I have experience working with children, I know I need adult experience.
“In January, LCVS put me in contact with a number of different organisations including the Friday Friendship Group at the Ivo Day Centre, Spalding – for people with learning disabilities.
“I’ve been going along on Fridays to help with its arts and craft sessions and play games and do jigsaws with the members.
“Then I got in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society and Stroke Association.
“Through the Stroke Association I am now working with patients who are having speech therapy on the exercises set by their speech therapist.
“As a result I got a day in Pilgrim Hospital shadowing a speech therapist – experience that is really difficult to come by.
“I’d tried to get a placement on my own previously and hadn’t been successful, which just goes to show you’re helping other people but it can help you a lot as well towards what you’re interested in or to find what you’re interested in and get you some really good experiences for your CV or university application.
“With volunteering you can give a really small amount of time – even just an hour a week – or far more.
“In 2014, I spent three months volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa. Living with a local family and working in the school to help children improve their English.
“It’s the best thing I have ever done and I’d love the chance to do something similar again in the future.”
Volunteers’ Week – a chance to challenge perceptions
Whether you’re a school leaver, job seeker, full time worker in need of adventure or retired, this year’s NCVO Volunteers’ Week aims to show you that by giving a little you can gain a lot.
One of the thrusts of this year’s extended event, which runs from June 1 to June 12, is to challenge perceptions around volunteering, who can volunteer and what they can do.
It is also a fantastic opportunity to celebrate volunteers and take a moment to appreciate all they do.
Ruth Copleston is senior community development and volunteering officer forLincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), which runs volunteer centres working with volunteer-involving organisations to help them find the people they need.
She said: “The answer really is that there’s something for everyone. Volunteering is an opportunity to build skills, spend time doing something you love, gain new experience, find new friends, to be valuable and valued and do something worthwhile both for yourself and someone else.
“Volunteers do so much for so many and we’d like to be the first this Volunteers’ Week to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers and to all the volunteers we work with.”
In the past few months alone, in South Holland, LCVS has been recruiting for a huge array of roles.
They have included calls for one-off help at events, those with pets willing to take them to visit people in hospices and homes, befrienders to spend time with children in care or older people as well as people willing to do some gardening, driving, fundraising, share their arts and crafts skills or even take on the duties of a police officer in their spare time.
LCVS regularly adds the latest opportunities to its website and its volunteer officers are happy to meet would-be volunteers to help match them to the role that fits their own individual skills, ambitions and limitations. Find out more at www.lincolnshirecvs.org.uk
Charity is at heart of four different local communities
Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) is a registered charity with teams in Boston, South Holland, South Kesteven and East Lindsey.
LCVS works to help community-minded individuals and groups to get established, achieve their goals and flourish through providing support with paperwork and governance, resources, sourcing funding and finding and training volunteers.
In addition, LCVS’s Healthy Living Team works with individuals to help them kick bad habits and get on the path to better health.
LCVS runs accredited volunteer centres in Spalding, Boston, Louth and Grantham.