Jeanette's Story - Volunteering Through Covid
I began volunteering with Aspire Creating Communities at the group in Birkby after retiring 4 years ago, following 14 years working as a careers adviser. I was looking for a volunteering opportunity as I have always loved working with people when Susanna Shotter introduced me to Aspire.
Currently, I volunteer with the group that would normally meet at the Chestnut Centre in Deighton which isn’t cliquey at all, just very open & friendly, enjoying humanity and sharing as a community of people. New people are looked after and welcomed, bringing a community feel into the group. I’m not a hugely ‘crafty’ person - people being more my thing but I enjoy coming alongside others and building relationships. I also enjoy making the refreshments when we hold the sessions and currently enjoy delivering “Keep Kirklees Crafting” bags, phoning people informally and writing to people.
Volunteers can get a lot out of this work by helping people feel accepted and giving them and the volunteers a sense of purpose and something to do which isn’t a duty and can be fun - it’s a two-way thing. Aspire is so good at building relationships with people especially in regards to loneliness and bringing people together. Society sometimes writes older people off without realising they’re so talented with a need to express themselves.
If you like working with people, then enjoy the atmosphere at Aspire, where there’s a warm welcome and plenty of necessary tasks other than crafting, such as tea-making or sitting alongside someone facilitating interaction and making everyone feel welcome and important. Families can be busy, even when they are close by. Aspire is a great way of building friendships & trying new things.