Dymphna O’Connor comes from Cork in Ireland, but calls North Tyneside her part-time home. Having stumbled across the Old Low Light Centre whilst exploring North Shields Fish Quay, Dymphna noticed a poster advertising volunteering opportunities. “I collect sea shells and enjoy crafts myself so I was interested in all of the collections and memorabilia here anyway. When I saw the volunteering poster I thought ‘why not?’ and asked about it,” said Dymphna, who now volunteers in the Centre’s café on a regular basis. When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering, Dymphna said “Meeting new people – everyone who works and volunteers here, and the people who come in to visit are all really lovely.”
Formerly a bus driver, North Shields resident John Kirk, has been making the most of his free time volunteering in a number of roles. After providing voluntary administration support at VODA for a number of years, John has lately been involved in a number of new community programmes, including those at the Linskill Centre and Way Out in Gateshead. “I feel like I have a new lease of life,” said John. “I’ve taken part in an outdoor activities programme and tried things like kayaking, which I’ve never done before. For me, volunteering keeps me busy and active, and I’ve met some great people through the different roles I’ve had. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has recently retired and has some spare time on their hands.”
Harry has been involved with VODA since summer 2016, when he was a participant on the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme during which he produced an incredible film and website documenting the struggles that young people face when homeless. Since completing NCS, Harry has gone on to be an ambassador for the programme and volunteer his time across multiple projects and campaigns. Harry was selected out of 1,000 applicants for a place on the National Leaders programme which saw 100 young people from around the country take part in a week of leadership skills development in London (Harry is pictured centre of the picture below with fellow NCS leaders).
Harry recently took part in VODA’s own Celebrating Trustees project, where he was one of 30 young people who planned and hosted an event for 100 local trustees and committee members. An integral part of the Celebrate team, Harry designed all of the marketing materials and producing an outstanding set of branded menus, evening schedules and invitations, as well as taking photographs at the actual event. He also volunteers for the Scouts as a Leader where he supports the young people who attend the group to achieve personal outcomes and improve their skill base, confidence levels and achieve personal goals.