Call us (020) 8942 8256

The new name for Age Concern Kingston upon Thames

Why should I do voluntary work? Christine’s story

Why should I do voluntary work?  Christine’s story

Why should I do voluntary work? This was a question I asked many times before I joined Staywell.  This is the story of how I became a volunteer and ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

A few years ago, I found myself unemployed.  After the initial shock, upset and anger, I realised I would have to sign on at the Job Centre.  Being in my fifties, I knew my search for employment was not going to be easy, but at the time I did not anticipate just how hard it would be.  As the weeks turned into months, interviews did not materialise and no offers of work came my way.  My self-esteem, confidence, and mood became extremely low and all I could think about was the skills I had built up over the years going to waste.  I felt totally abandoned, useless and worthless.

After some months I had to attend a group session at the Job Centre.  It was suggested that voluntary work can sometimes lead to permanent employment and also looks good on a CV.  My reaction to this was:  ‘I don’t want to volunteer – I want paid work,’ so I took no action.


Rock bottom

On one of many days, sitting at home browsing websites in search of work, I came across Staywell (known as Age Concern Kingston back then).  First looking at job vacancies, I noticed a section on volunteering.  I noted the telephone number, but even then it took a time before I rang.  When I eventually called, I was at rock bottom.  I went along and had a chat with a lady who dealt with volunteers who told me they needed someone to handle the cash and general admin duties at Raleigh House social centre.  Pointing out that I was looking for paid work and that I had no experience of some of the duties involved, I was taken on.



I found the staff very friendly, helpful and the place had a happy feel about it.  The thing I enjoyed most, and which to me was most important, was meeting and greeting the centre users, having a chat with them and helping them out if necessary.  I began looking forward to my Monday morning – my mood and confidence began to lift, my self-esteem started to return.  I began to feel ‘normal’ and not so isolated – and I was also learning.

After 21 months without paid employment, I successfully applied for a position as a Receptionist/Appointments Clerk.  I was over the moon, however, a big part of me will miss doing my voluntary work.

Volunteering for me has only been a good experience.  It has given me back my self-esteem and confidence.  I also learned a lot.  I’ve met different people and the most important thing is that members and staff appreciate the help you give.  I also believe that working for Staywell helped me get the paid job due to the ‘rescue’ it provided when I was very down.

So, if you are thinking about volunteering, don’t just sit there, go and do it! Who knows what you might gain from it?

I know I will go back to volunteering one day.




Good times at The Bradbury

Good times at The Bradbury

Stewart Hyde is well known at The Bradbury..


Read by date (archive)

April 2018
« Sep