North Wales Women’s Centre
I’d never dreamt of volunteering.
I left school at 15 with no qualifications. I had lots of problems like I had mistaken anger for confidence. I did some courses at the Centre including confidence building.
It was an opportunity to go back to basics to find out who I was and what I wanted – not just accepting what was put in my life.
My support worker asked if volunteering was something I’d like to do. My response was ‘I couldn’t do that’ because of the place I was in then. She suggested chatting to the volunteer manager about volunteering on reception. It felt like the time to move to the next stage of my life but I wasn’t ready to go into full-time work.
Now I have been volunteering for 3 years and went to college at the same time.
I like the people at NWWC. I was accepted for me and welcomed with no ulterior motive, I was safe to be emotional, a mental mess. You can’t put a price on that and that’s what keeps me here.
I think the fact that people saw me as a person and not a problem, gave me respect and gave me a chance has influenced me in setting up Souper Sunday – a new project in Rhyl, to provide a hot meal and drinks to homeless people on Sunday afternoons, a day when there are no other services available. I am now recruiting, training and managing volunteers. My experience as a volunteer has given me an insight and a base to build up from.
I have gained confidence through volunteering and gained extra skills and advanced those skills I already have. It has taught me not to be judgemental. I started to think ‘I don’t know what they’re going through’. It’s not always what can be seen on the outside what a person is dealing with.
To someone who is unsure about trying volunteering: ‘Try it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain’
You can learn or enhance your skills. If you don’t like it, try something else. It’s a brilliant way of finding out what you want to do.
This Centre turned my life around and I enjoy my life.