Volunteer Case Studies
My name is Lorna, I have been volunteering at Katherine Low Settlement (KLS) since 2019.
I got interested in volunteering when I went to tai chi classes at KLS; I was struck by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere and enjoyed meeting members of the lunch club on my way to and from the class, so when I saw a poster about volunteering there, I made enquiries and got involved. Having lived and worked abroad, I was interested in working with people from other countries.
What do you do? I am a teaching assistant in an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class. Before class, I read the lesson plan the teacher sends to me so that I can be prepared to support the students in their learning. During the pandemic, teaching has been online so I have worked on Zoom with small groups.
I am also a learning mentor for a primary school child, who does not speak English at home. I meet him weekly for an hour, originally in his home, then by phone and now on Zoom. We do all kinds of things: follow up his interests, read, discuss, play word games, do quizzes…
I love meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, learning from them, hearing about their hopes and dreams for the future and I hope in a small way helping them to achieve their goals. I also love meeting the staff and other volunteers, and being supported by the staff in my volunteering work. I also love the celebrations we have and the fun times with students.
What would you say to others about volunteering?
Give it a try; there are so many opportunities that you are bound to find something that is right for you. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people, to acquire or develop skills, to broaden horizons and to make a contribution to the local community.
I volunteer as an Emotional Wellbeing Advisor at Free2B and supporting others through voluntary work is truly an invaluable experience. I began volunteering whilst at university, studying a course in Therapeutic Psychology. The course required me to undertake a placement which is when I came across Free2B. I really enjoyed my experience volunteering and decided that I wanted to continue to volunteer after completing my course.
My role involves supporting the emotional wellbeing of young people within the LGBTQ+ community. I offer support by checking-in with how they are feeling and providing a space for more emotionally reflective and sensitive conversations to happen. Through active listening and having a deep sense of empathy, I can understand the emotional needs that a young person may have, and by having these conversations, support them in processing their own feelings and experiences. This is important as it can bring mental clarity and confidence to move forwards in the face of different life challenges, whilst being able to manage one’s own wellbeing.
I also facilitate activities within a wellbeing group, that provides a safe space for the young people to engage in activities which promote creativity, imagination, and reflection. This group enables the young people to focus on their own wellbeing, and to share with and uplift one another.
Volunteering for me is very rewarding as it gives me the opportunity to help young people within a vulnerable community and see them embracing their own identities in a supportive and encouraging setting. I have also been able to develop my own skillset in both personal and professional capacities. My communication skills have significantly improved, as well as my confidence, as I have been able to work therapeutically with the young people at Free2B. I have also gained leadership skills, and the experience to deliver activities in group context through my involvement in the wellbeing group.
Volunteering is an amazing way that anyone can support causes that they are passionate about, develop themselves, and ultimately create a better world for everyone.
“As a new volunteer with Home-Start, I have learned to listen without judgement and not to rush but to gently encourage. I have loved getting to know my Home-Start family: celebrating the hurdles overcome, discussing the obstacles to be navigated and understanding the issues being faced are challenging but so fulfilling and supportive to our friendship. I would recommend anyone with a bit of free time in their week to give back to their community their time, experience and emotional support as it is worth so much to those families who just need a bit of help.”
Suddenly finding herself with more time on her hands, Jaqi decided that she wanted to do some voluntary work. Keen to utilise her own parenting experience and help other families, Jaqi applied to become a Home-Start Wandsworth volunteer.
After completing the training course, Jaqi was soon matched with Bea*. Bea was struggling with her mental health and was incredibly isolated at home with her three children. At first, Jaqi would speak to Bea over the telephone on a weekly basis. It was initially quite challenging to build a rapport this way, so once government restrictions allowed, they soon started to meet face to face in the park for socially distanced walks.
Whenever Bea feels distressed, she often turns to Jaqi, knowing that she will be met without judgment and a listening ear. Bea really values their friendship and after a lifetime of not having any friends, it’s wonderful to see her confide and trust in Jaqi.
Over the last few months Bea and Jaqi’s relationship has flourished. Just seeing a friendly face, having a chat and knowing that she wasn’t alone has helped combat the stress and loneliness Bea was facing through lockdown. With Jaqi’s encouragement and unwavering support , Bea has started to develop coping strategies for dealing with her anxiety.
With renewed confidence, Bea has started to connect with other local parents through Home-Start’s buggy walks, something she would not have done a few months ago.
Jaqi has been a lifeline to Bea and her tailored, responsive support instrumental in helping Bea adjust as the world begins to open up again.
Thank you from Free2B
We’d like to say a massive thank you to our amazing team of volunteers who help us to deliver Free2B services supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and to all our rainbow pixies working away in the background helping to keep everything running smoothly.
Our fabulous youth worker volunteers bring a wealth of skills and experience to our sessions, planning and delivering activities including art therapy, team challenges, healthy relationships and all manner of LGBTQ+ themed workshops!
It is such a powerful and positive message for our young people to see LGBTQ+ role models and allies giving up their time each week to support our youth services.