Date published: 11 March 2020 by Maddie Thomas
Tell us a bit about yourself – interests and hobbies, other work or volunteering
I graduated from the University of Surrey around 4 years ago and have been working in the PR and Marketing industry ever since - I’m currently a Junior Creative for a communications agency called Ketchum London.
Outside of work I absolutely love all things baking and am always experimenting with new (mostly healthy!) recipes in my spare time. I also love to get involved in charity work and have been volunteering at Rainbow Trust for just under a year now. Alongside this, I also volunteer for a charity called Riding for the Disabled; another amazing organisation that provides therapeutic horse riding for disabled children and adults in the UK.
How did you first hear about Rainbow Trust and why did you decide to volunteer?
When I moved into London a year ago, I was on the lookout for a more local volunteering opportunity that I could fit alongside my work schedule and new location. After a lot of researching I came across Rainbow Trust and was instantly drawn to the incredible work they do all over the UK, supporting children and their families. I decided to sign up for the monthly Neonatal Sibling groups as they provided the perfect opportunity and flexibility for me to fit in volunteering alongside my full time job.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteering?
I love the opportunity it gives me to meet other volunteers, new families and children and most importantly give back to people at a time where they need as much support as they can get.
Can you describe a typical day volunteering and what it involves?
Each session tends to vary as due to the nature of the drop ins you never know how many children will turn up – therefore we tend to play it by ear each month. The sessions are a time for us to look after children and help take their mind off their siblings who are currently in the Neonatal Unit - so we have a wonder bag full of arts & crafts, games and colouring that we use to play with them. (I have honestly now lost track at the amount of times I’ve been beaten in the Shopping List game by 3-year olds!)
Do you have a particularly distinctive memory from your volunteering so far?
I think for me it would have to be the first group I ever volunteered at. It was incredibly moving to see the difference these sessions made to parents at such a hard time in their lives. Being able to support them and seeing how grateful they were when we looked after their other children, even if only for a few hours was truly amazing.
If you were to meet someone who was considering volunteering for Rainbow Trust what would you say to them?
I would say absolutely do it – something I’ve learnt is there will never be the ‘perfect’ time to start volunteering, but if you’re considering it and can find a way to fit it in alongside your schedule then definitely go for it. It’s not only highly rewarding but it’s also an incredible opportunity to give back to those who really need it most – I’ve already told some of my friends to sign up!
With thousands of families caring for a seriously ill child in the UK who need us, we couldn’t do it without volunteers, like Emily. Whether you can give a few hours, a day or two or want to become a lifelong volunteer, your time really does make all the difference. Interested in volunteering? Please visit our Volunteering page to learn more.