A 23-year-old South Holland woman has shared her experience of how volunteering is helping her on the path to a new career.
Kathryn Crawt, who grew up in Holbeach and is a former Spalding High School pupil, works in a kids’ club on cruise ships.
In January, she decided to focus on volunteering in between trips.
She said: “When I’m home I like to be busy. I trained as a teacher but decided in November I didn’t want to do that and am looking for what I can do next.
“Volunteering is quite a nice way to try out a few different areas to see what area I might like to pursue a career in further down the line. And through volunteering I feel like I’m getting closer to knowing what I want to do.
“Working on the cruise ship, I’m away for two months and back for two months and when I’m on the ship I work seven days a week. Volunteering gives me a chance to do something with my time off but still have more control over my time than if I did additional paid work.
“I’m interested in speech therapy and although I have experience working with children, I know I need adult experience.
“In January, Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service put me in contact with a number of different organisations including the Friday Friendship Group at the Ivo Day Centre, Spalding – for people with learning disabilities. I’ve been going along on Fridays to help with its arts and craft sessions and play games and do jigsaws with the members.
“Then I got in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society and Stroke Association.
“Through the Stroke Association I am now working with patients who are having speech therapy on the exercises set by their speech therapist.
“As a result I got a day in Pilgrim Hospital shadowing a speech therapist – experience that is really difficult to come by.
“I’d tried to get a placement on my own previously and hadn’t been successful, which just goes to show you’re helping other people but it can help you a lot as well towards what you’re interested in or to find what you’re interested in and get you some really good experiences for your CV or university application.
“With volunteering you can give a really small amount of time, even just an hour a week or far more.
“In 2014, I spent three months volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa. Living with a local family and working in the school to help children improve their English.
“It’s the best thing I have ever done and I’d love the chance to do something similar again in the future.”
Volunteers’ Week – a chance to challenge perceptions
Whether a school leaver, job seeker, full time worker in need of adventure or retired, this year’s NCVO Volunteers’ Week aims to show people that by giving a little, you can gain a lot.
One of the thrusts of this year’s extended event, which runs from June 1 to June 12, is to challenge perceptions around volunteering, who can volunteer and what they can do. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate volunteers.
Ruth Copleston, senior community development and volunteering officer for Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), which runs Volunteer Centres working with volunteer-involving organisations to help them find the people they need, said: “The answer really is that there’s something for everyone.
“Volunteering is an opportunity to build skills, spend time doing something you love, gain new experience, find new friends, to be valuable and valued and do something worthwhile both for yourself and someone else.
“Volunteers do so much for so many and we’d like to be the first this Volunteers’ Week to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers and to all the volunteers we work with.”
In the past few months alone, in South Holland, LCVS has been recruiting to a huge array of roles. They have included calls for one-off help at events, befrienders to spend time with children in care or older people as well as people willing to do gardening, driving, fundraising or share their arts and crafts skills in their spare time.
LCVS has the latest opportunities in South Holland on its website and its volunteer officers are happy to meet would-be volunteers to help match them to the role that fits their own individual skills, ambitions and limitations.
Find out more at www.lincolnshirecvs.org.uk