We’ve brought together some feedback from those who have been involved with the supported volunteering service and we thank them all for agreeing to share their story.
"I first contacted North Tyneside VODA June 2013 to ask about volunteer opportunities, as I wanted to get more positive things back in my life. At that time I had been struggling with bereavement and divorce.
Ian introduced me to different volunteer placements at New Prospects, helping to deliver activities with people with learning disabilities, Momentum Skills, supporting people with brain injuries and with VODA as a partner volunteer and befriender.
Since I started these volunteering placements, I feel reborn.
I now feel like my life is going somewhere again and I have regained my self esteem and am more confident. In my volunteer responsibilities I always feel as though I have achieved something when I finish and always look forward to the next volunteer session.
I enjoy making a difference to the lives of the people I have been supporting and am keen to do more."
"I originally got involved with VODA through my occupational therapist. I had suffered from clinical depression and anxiety, and was looking for something to regain my confidence and hopefully find employment in something I enjoyed, and also found challenging.
Through VODA, my first placement was for a mental health support group called ‘Changes’ and I had a partner volunteer called Mandy to support me in this role. I found Mandy’s presence, and support at this time invaluable as I did not have the confidence to face this placement alone.
After this placement I undertook and completed the Partners in Volunteering Training course, which covered a range of topics including boundaries, confidentiality and overcoming exclusion.
I found this training immensely helpful and enlightening, and it was also enjoyable to meet others in a similar situation and discuss different ideas and thoughts.
After the training, I then became a partner volunteer for two new volunteers in three different placements. One was at the Percy Hedley Day Centre and the other placement was a gardening project at Longbenton Children’s Centre.
Although I was just supporting the volunteers, I gained helpful knowledge and experience being at these placements. I believe that Partners in Volunteering has an extremely important role and as well as helping and supporting others and seeing their confidence grow, it gave me an enormous sense of self worth seeing that I had helped others.
Overall, the experiences I have gained, plus the knowledge from the training and the help and ongoing support I have received has helped and is still completely invaluable.
I feel a lot more confident in my capabilities and happier in myself because and the Partners in Volunteering programme has given me a sense of achievement and self belief that I didn’t have before I was introduced to it.
As well as still being involved with this immensely enjoyable and challenging experience, I am now pursuing my own placements to access paid employment and am feeling very positive about the future."
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