Volunteers Week is a UK wide campaign now in its’ 35thyear. Its’ primary objective is to recognise, celebrate and say thank you to the thousands of volunteers across the UK.
“It is also a great opportunity to raise the profiles of some of the great volunteers we have here at Community360 and to increase participation in volunteering.” Said Tracy Rudling, CEO of Community360.
She added: “As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing, it can help you to gain valuable new skills and experiences and boost your confidence.
We are privileged to work with hundreds of volunteers each year and always seeing people with an interest in the community who would like to share their skills and knowledge with others”
The One Colchester Hub was launched in 2018 and has seen a host of Colchester residents, Community 360 iTea members and many local supporting agencies being involved in the ‘Colchester Communities Can…’ project. The HUB base is managed by Community 360 in partnership with Colchester Borough Council.
“We have two great volunteers at the ONE Colchester Hub who have greatly benefited from giving up their time but not just to help others, but to help themselves too.” Said Tracy.
Meet Pauline Cooke. Pauline has been volunteering at the One Colchester Hub since February 2018.
Pauline was once a care assistant at Colchester General Hospital, married with two children. she suffered with poor mental health after the breakdown of her marriage, which then set off buried issues from her past raising their head, going back to our childhood, including sexual abuse. Pauline explains:
“My self-esteem went through the floor after the breakdown of my marriage, but I knew I had to pick myself up and deal with the situation. I attended counselling and got to the point where I felt I could get into groups again. I needed to stop the isolation, but I had no confidence. I saw an advert for Community360 who were looking for volunteers and have never looked back.
Volunteering has been my therapy, an essential step in my recovery. But if you are considering volunteering after a breakdown or illness you have to be ready for it. It will give you confidence, build you a new network of friends and if you want to get back to work, the confidence to do so.
Volunteering has played a huge part in building up my confidence. If someone had said that I would take 48 people on a walk as a guide on flora and fauna I would have said never! But I did! and I have also played a part in building up the ‘women’s group’ which we do lots of fun things from craft, exhanging recipes to pampering!
There is such a huge range of projects you can get involved with at Community360, I love it at The Hub, as I like listening to people and signposting them to help and support, after all I have been that person and know first-hand how important it is to give that help.”
Meet Dave Pyne. Dave has been volunteering at the One Colchester Hub for six months.
“I suffered a severe breakdown and tried to take my own life, I was hospitalised but this gave me a chance to think about my life and how I not only needed to help myself but to help others. I was handed a leaflet at the job centre about Community360 and that they were looking for volunteers.
I met Amanda Findley from Community360 who was just so kind and offered me a position to help out at the One Colchester Hub. Volunteering has changed my life for the better, it has given me back my confidence and I was able to mix socially again.
Now I want to come to work, it is work for me not just volunteering, you have a purpose. I have helped to set up the ‘Men’s Matters’ group and seen some fantastic results from this already, I am now the lead on this project.
I would say if you are thinking of volunteering do it! But if you have been ill, give yourself time, you have to be ready. I was ready to volunteer and now I feel I really make a difference. I am hoping one day there will be a permeant position for me at Community360 volunteering has taught me that I want to work in the charity and community sector, it is rewarding and made a huge difference to my life.”
If you would like to get involved more directly, The Hub is now seeking volunteers to take on some exciting roles as part of the project and would welcome calls or emails from anyone who is interested in getting involved. There are a number of befriending roles available for people to match up and support people living in Colchester who would like to have more regular social contact, reducing the risk of social isolation.
There are free weekly weigh-ins offered by Community 360 in partnership with Anglian Community Enterprise and various other groups and clubs throughout each week such as iTea, C360’s Women’s Group, Time Bank Time Together meetings and Job Club.
All of these roles can be found online at www.volunteeressex.org or you can learn more about them from the staff at The Hub or by logging onto our volunteering section of the Community360 website www.community360.org.uk