Michele finds support
Throughout my marriage I suffered from domestic abuse, which I managed to escape with the help of the charity Survive and the Women’s Refuge service. It left me with severe depression and a complete lack of confidence; I have been unable to work for the past 2 years.
At the beginning of 2017 I visited the Volunteer Centre and came away with a list of opportunities that I thought I might be interested in. But afterwards I had panic attacks at the idea of trying.
The Centre development co-ordinator followed up a few weeks later and I explained my predicament. She told me about a volunteering placement scheme they were running in conjunction with Essilor Ltd. This would allow me to volunteer at the company for 35 hours over a period of time to suit myself. Essilor staff had been trained to act as mentors to support volunteers like myself throughout their placement.
With the encouragement of everyone involved I decided to try the scheme and went along for a two- hour trial. I was very, very nervous and panicking massively and almost didn’t turn up but part of me realised that I needed to do this for myself. I shadowed June in the customer care department, saw what she did, what her team did and found out how the company worked. Halfway through the morning I had a funny five minutes but June reassured me, checked that I was OK to carry on and with her support I stayed for the full two hours.
As each week went by my confidence grew and my ability to work increased. Meeting and working with new people also helped my confidence enormously. Though this placement made me realise I wasn’t ready to start looking for a full-time job, by the end of my 35 hours I felt ready to look for part-time employment.
I cannot thank the staff at Essilor enough for the help, encouragement and support they have given me. I feel like a different person now to the one I was just six months ago. Since finishing I have applied for a couple of part-time jobs and I am hopeful that something will turn up soon.
News & information
Personal Resilience and Stress Management Workshop. A second workshop has been organised for 4 September. More details.
We’ve popped up again! Our pop-up shop opened on 12 May, and was an immediate success. More here.
Annual report Our annual report for 2018 is published. View or download here.
Volunteer Managers’ Network Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 June. More here.
AGM date announced: It will be on 18 July with guest speaker and refreshments. All welcome! More details.
Big grant permits local projects: We have been granted £2000 from Tesco's Bags of Help scheme. We plan a series of events during 2018 to bring organisations and volunteers closer together. More information.
General Data Protection Regulation: We helped organise two successful workshops to assist local organisations to come to grips with new data protection regulations. Details here.
Quiz nights at the Swan: Our funds benefited by more than £400 from the April quiz nights at the Swan. Details here.