Evie – Buddy Lead and Workshop Volunteer

Evie has been recently matched as a Buddy Lead volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support, and as a Schools Service volunteer with the NSPCC. She is excited to be stepping into the next chapter of her life through volunteering.

What led you to volunteer?

I have been unemployed for several years due to a long-term health condition which has prevented me from returning to work. This has been frustrating as I used to be very professionally active.

I am embarking on a new chapter in my life and volunteering is a way of being part of an organisation again, and I am glad to apply my skills, and personal and professional experience. I have learnt a lot about myself through my health condition, so this is a chance to bring everything together and give back to others.

In the long term I will be looking to be returning to employment at some point. Volunteering means being able to hold my head up high and get back into professional environments again, as I have felt a lot of shame and embarrassment from being out of work for an extended period. Now I will be part of a team again, and it feels good to be able to update my CV with volunteering activity.

I also know my self-worth will improve – in fact it already has – and it’s something else to think about rather than my personal situation. It also means social integration as I’ve been quite socially isolated at times due to ill health. Volunteering means I can take it step by step and get the balance right for me.

I’m stepping into next chapter of my life through these volunteer roles, and I’m looking forward to getting started, to do some good and to an exciting future.

How did you find out about the roles?

The organisation I volunteered with three years ago found most of their volunteers through Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service, so came across the Service then. After going through some difficult circumstances, I have decided to reach out to see what volunteering roles were on offer.

I was quite clear on what I was looking for – something based on my previous volunteering experience. The Volunteer Matching Service team suggested a few roles and, after a further chat, I was able to make a more informed choice about the roles I wanted to get involved with. It is quite a personal decision.

What are your volunteer roles and what do they involve?

One of the roles is with NSPCC as a Speak out Stay safe volunteer, delivering workshops in primary schools to teach children about the different types of abuse and how they can speak out and stay safe. This appealed to me because I have previous experience in youth work along with my own personal experiences, which I can use in this role. I felt it was important to be myself and honest in the interview process.

The other role is as a Buddy Lead volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support to help with the Macmillan Buddy service which provides a lifeline for people with cancer. It will involve leading another small team of volunteers helping people with cancer.

The roles are quite different from one another and are also looking for different commitments each month. Overall, they fit with the commitment length I’m looking for.

What has the onboarding process been like?

Both roles have quite stringent onboarding processes, which is reassuring, as they are both sensitive roles, where empathy and sensitivity is key.

So far, I have been accepted for both roles and currently in the onboarding process.

Interestingly, when I spoke with the volunteer coordinator at Macmillan, based on my answers to her questions and lived experiences of losing close family members to cancer, she offered a more senior volunteer role managing a team of volunteers. I was not expecting this; it has given me a bit of self-confidence and it is good to know I can apply more of my skills to the organisation. I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

What has registering with Volunteer Matching Service meant to you?

The Volunteer Matching Service has been a springboard for me. I know I’m not yet ready to be in paid employment, as I am still in a transition period, so when I was looking at what else I can do with my time, the Service was the ideal place for me to turn to.

I would like to grow in confidence: even the recruitment process gave me workplace experience and a reason to hold myself in a professional way again. The interview process and training has already helped me feel a very different person. And it shows – friends and family members are noticing! It is also inspiring others: there is a real ripple effect to getting involved with volunteering.

Further information:

To find out more about NSPCC or Macmillan Cancer Support, visit the NSPCC website and the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

If you are looking for a volunteering role, register your interest with the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service and have a look at see some examples of roles currently available.

Published on March 18, 2024

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society