wonderful . It ' s amazing to have a direct impact that ' s so visible .’
Tiggy ’ s advice to anyone thinking about volunteering ? ‘ Do it ! If it ' s an area you ’ re considering working in , or something you care about , then it ' s a great space to be able to make a difference .’
GRAB THE OPPORTUNITY
After more than a decade of working hard and playing hard in my spare time , my lifestyle finally caught up with me . I burnt out in spectacular fashion , descending into addiction , and losing my job and my home in the process . Life became a matter of survival until I engaged with WDP , and was helped to gradually rebuild from the ground up . I was encouraged to attend training to become a peer mentor by my keyworker , and when the opportunity came up to help welcome new service users in the induction group I took it – even though I wasn ’ t sure sharing my experience of recovery would be relevant to anyone else . However the positive response I got from the group members hearing from someone who had been in their position and had managed to turn things around made me realise I could have an impact .
The role helped me build my self-esteem back up and I felt like I had some purpose again . With the confidence that brought me , I decided to go back to studying and enrolled on a counselling course .
Over the three years I ’ ve been at college I ‘ ve continued to volunteer at WDP in various roles , and I recently did some great experiential training with other volunteers that gave me a boost in my skills .
‘ I ’ d never have believed it if someone had told me that one day I ’ d be in front of a class teaching , but here I am .’
Finally , impossibly , I ’ ve come full circle and am helping train a brilliant new group of peer mentors . I ’ d never have believed it if someone had told me that one day I ’ d be in front of a class teaching , but here I am . If you ’ re someone who ’ s considering taking up a volunteering role , my advice is to grab the opportunity . The experience that I ’ ve had at WDP has been encouragement to challenge myself in a supportive environment . It has allowed me to build skills that have opened up options for me to get back into work and turned what was a very difficult time in my life into something meaningful .
’ ve been volunteering at WDP since October 2020 , starting out as a volunteer recovery practitioner . I used to work in the fashion industry , but I made the decision to change careers because I wanted to make a difference to people ’ s lives . I feel that I can make use of what I have learnt from my own recovery journey to help others facing similar difficulties with substance misuse . Having studied psychology at the University of East London , I also wanted to apply my psychology background to my volunteering and work .
The best thing for me about volunteering [ at WDP ] is the wide range of professional training that ’ s available . I ’ ve had the opportunity to learn
A VALUABLE INVESTMENT
Change Grow Live on being awarded the UK quality standard for organisations working with volunteers
We ’ ve been awarded the Investing in Volunteers standard , which shows the value we place on volunteering . However , it ’ s also a celebration of the volunteer experience at Change Grow Live .
‘ We have a strong history of volunteers who make an enormous contribution to our services and the lives of those that use our service around the UK ,’ says Chris Benfield , our head of volunteering and accredited learning . ‘ Achieving Investing in Volunteers is a ringing endorsement of the efforts of staff across Change Grow Live in making it a safe and rewarding place to volunteer . The report has also identified several areas of outstanding practice . I couldn ’ t be happier .’
This is the first time that our approach to volunteering has been externally assessed , and it showed excellence in all areas of our work . More than 50 volunteers and 16 staff from across 20 services – including our chief executive officer , Mark Moody – took part in the assessment , with a further 145 volunteers participating in a related survey .
Here ’ s a short selection of the insights shared by our volunteers in the assessment :
‘ Volunteering has brought me on in my life and growth so much . I can ’ t thank everyone enough . The growth we ’ ve been given and the support to go for employment within Change Grow Live has been amazing .’
‘ Volunteering is inclusive – there are no restrictions . Equality and diversity is definitely there . You meet people from all walks of life and different types of volunteers .’
‘ They look for things that will suit you . You ’ re not just asked to do things – they put you in places where you will thrive .’
‘ The support is absolutely amazing . There are regular check-ins and they are very accommodating . There are regular one-to-ones . I ' m blown away by the support .’
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