Volunteers are a vital resource that need to be developed and nurtured , says Woosh Raza
As someone passionate about volunteering I ’ ve been looking forward to Volunteers ’ Week as it always gives me an opportunity to appreciate our volunteers and reflect on their contribution to our work . This last year has been a huge challenge for everyone , and amongst all the bad times it ’ s been amazing to witness the crucial role our volunteers have played in helping us keep our doors open and provide much-needed support to those in desperately vulnerable circumstances . We are incredibly grateful for their dedication , loyalty and support .
The reason for my passion is that I ’ ve seen time and time again how volunteering can open up a world of possibilities and not just provide a stepping stone into part-time or full-time employment but into a new life . Whether it ’ s those who have recently completed a treatment programme and are looking to take the next step on their treatment journey , those seeking their first employment opportunity , students looking to gain experience or those returning to work after a break , the common thread is that volunteering opens so many doors to new life experiences .
It ’ s a testament to the great work of our teams in supporting our volunteers that I can share these stories with you . Stories such as Sarah , who joined Phoenix Futures in November 2020 , during the pandemic . ‘ I wanted to help individuals struggling with alcohol and to find a company that would provide me with the tools and skills to pursue a career in the field ,’ she says . ‘ With the assistance of my mentor and my manager , I was able to gain the confidence and skills to run my own groups and work one-to-one with clients . I ’ m always offered training courses which help me further enhance my skill set , and after volunteering for four months I successfully became an alcohol practitioner in the south of Essex .’
Andy ’ s story began in Scotland in February 2018 . ‘ I spent six months in the Phoenix Scottish Residential ,’ he says . ‘ I came with a 27-year heroin habit – I ’ d been in jail and on the streets . When I came in I was angry , but CBT helped me look at myself . I was always encouraged by staff , told
I was capable . The department coordinator was always on my case saying I should come and volunteer .’
After completing his rehab programme , Andy remained in Glasgow and began volunteering at the residential three days a week . ‘ It helped with my confidence . The coolest thing is someone saying thank you . The main idea about being a volunteer was to keep the tools I learned fresh in my head – I didn ’ t want it going stagnant .’ As the pandemic gathered pace in early 2020 , Andy moved into a role as a sessional worker and by the end of the year had become a full-time trainee recovery worker . ‘ The work I did as a volunteer helped me learn quickly . I had to be proactive , and become a role model ,’ he says .
Ahmed is a member of the Phoenix Futures HR department . His route to volunteering began in Pakistan where he ’ d just completed
‘ I ’ ve seen time and time again how volunteering can open up a world of possibilities and not just provide a stepping stone into part-time or fulltime employment but into a new life .’
AS THE PANDEMIC GATHERED PACE IN EARLY 2020 , Andy ( above ) moved into a role as a sessional worker and by the end of the year had become a full-time trainee recovery worker . ‘ The work I did as a volunteer helped me learn quickly . I had to be proactive , and become a role model .’ Above left : Phoenix Harlow Allotment
his undergraduate degree . ‘ After spending 22 years in my home country , I believed it was the right time to seek out another adventure and leave my comfort zone . I had very little guidance on how to study abroad , or even where to do this . I managed to get help from an international agent to proceed with my application and they suggested I apply for an MBA in International HR management from Coventry University in London .’
Ahmed struggled to find an internship for his final project before contacting Phoenix Futures , where he was offered a voluntary position with the HR department . ‘ It was an interesting and challenging experience , and the team was very welcoming and happy to answer any questions I had ,’ he says . ‘ I appreciated that I was treated as a valued member of the team , and not just an intern who was there for two months . After completing my internship , I was fortunate enough to be offered a part-time role as a HR administrator which I accepted whole-heartedly .’
Della began volunteering with Phoenix after graduating from a community treatment programme .
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