How Has Skilled Volunteering Impacted Me?
A Volunteer Perspective
Volunteering through Link UP London is different from any other volunteering I’ve done. Being a Link UP volunteer has given me two priceless things: my professional pride back and knowledge that I have made a difference to the work of some great charities in my own community.
When I became a full-time carer for my mother, I thought I’d lose all my skills and never feel useful again. The staff at Link UP London recognised that my confidence had been rocked by having to give up work and encouraged me to value the life-time of experience that I have had. Most importantly for me, volunteering through Link UP has allowed me to be engaged in ways that suit me, for time-limited periods and with clear goals that make professional volunteering manageable for someone in my situation.
Link UP London has matched me to some wonderful organisations who understood that I needed to volunteer entirely from home and cannot commit to set times of working. The partner organisations have been amazingly flexible. I have completed projects entirely through email and telephone. In my previous life, I often worked as a consultant and the projects I have completed through Link UP have made me feel valued again as a professional. But, volunteering is different from work. The relationships I have formed have been more than professional. I have felt truly welcomed as part of the organisations I have worked with. In my professional life, I used to travel the country working with different social care organisations, and know nothing about the third sector on my doorstep. Now, thanks to Link UP London, I feel part of my local community and a valued member of the Link UP London family.
In these times of lock-down, the organisations that Link UP works with need support more than ever. I am glad that Paul’s Cancer Support Centre, who I have worked with twice on Link UP projects, has felt able to call on me for additional support and happy to be helping out from the safety of my own home.