Date published: 02 June 2021 by Maddie Thomas
This Volunteers' Week, we're saying thank you to everyone who gives their time to support Rainbow Trust. We're celebrating the fantastic contributions of all of our volunteers and sharing some of their stories, like Sally, who has been supporting the Volunteering Team based at our Head Office, for over four years.
"Hello, I’m Sally. Before being a Rainbow Trust volunteer, I spent my career in the healthcare sector, most recently focusing on children with disabilities. I really enjoying swimming and running, as well as live music and spending time with my family.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Rainbow Trust?
I was actually already familiar with Rainbow Trust as the previous CEO was my mentor – so I’d heard a lot about Rainbow Trust’s work supporting families. When I retired I wanted to give something back, so I thought I’d join as a volunteer.
Can you explain what your role typically involves and how it’s changed as a result of the pandemic?
My role involves supporting the Volunteering Team with administration, research and projects. Previous I volunteered once a week at Head Office. Each week was slightly different but some of the projects I’ve worked on include digitising our volunteer records, working on the volunteer feedback survey – creating the survey questions and analysing the results, and researching into new policies. I’ve also enjoyed volunteering at fundraising events.
Now obviously things are quite different! I’ve been supporting remotely, so meeting my manager virtually and learning how to access our systems online. It’s been different but good – the use of things like Zoom and Teams means it’s been easy to keep in touch – I’ve never used them before but they are such useful tools. I’ve been able to continue with most of the work I would be doing if we were in the office and I’m currently working on a new Welcome Handbook for new volunteers joining the team.
Volunteering is actually more flexible now, as I am not tied to my one day in the office. This is beneficial for me at the moment, as my other commitments have changed as well, so I can juggle things much more easily now. I do miss the buzz of the office, seeing other staff and volunteers and hearing what the care and fundraising teams have been up to recently.
What’s the best thing about your role?
I think the pandemic has shown the increasing importance of volunteering as an area of growth for the charity sector – so it’s good to be involved in that at the heart of it as part of the Volunteering team. We can talk about the impact volunteers have on Rainbow Trust’s work and help highlight the role they have in supporting families.
What’s the hardest thing about your role?
The technology – I find that technology is moving fast at the moment and not using it daily sometimes makes it challenging to remember what I’m doing! It’s more difficult for it to become second nature, but there’s plenty of support from staff and training for it and our current IT systems are much more accessible than before which is always a good thing.
What has been your one stand-out memory from volunteering for RT so far?
I really loved dressing up as elves for a Christmas panto collection back in 2019! It’s something so different to volunteering in the office and it was a great day – so much fun! I was volunteering with a fellow volunteer who has become a great friend now and we still keep in touch now.
You’ve been busy during the past year supporting many other causes during the pandemic, can you tell us a bit about that and what you’ve been doing?
At the start of the first lockdown last summer I started volunteering for my local council. I was checking in with people who were on the shielding list, making sure that they had access to food deliveries with supermarkets, pharmacy and medication services. A big part of it was giving these highly isolated individuals someone to talk to during such a difficult time for everyone.
Since December I’ve also been volunteering for St John Ambulance at a large-scale vaccination centre, welcoming and checking in patients coming in for their vaccinations.
Finally, I’m also involved in a project called ‘Get Invole’d – a conservation project aiming to bring back water voles to the Hogsmill river!
So all in all quite varied!"
To find out more about our varied volunteering opportunities or email the Volunteering Team on 01372 220043 or [email protected].