Date published: 31 May 2016 by Anna Jackson
A Southampton teenager volunteering for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which helps families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness, has encouraged others to volunteer their spare time for the charity too.
Jack Wilson, 19, from Holbury, made his comments ahead of Volunteers’ Week, a national campaign running from 1-12 June, which promotes volunteers’ contributions across the UK.
Working with Rainbow Trust’s Southampton Care Team, Jack shadows the Family Support Workers who provide emotional and practical support to families at home, in hospital or in the community, wherever they are needed. Working with a range of families, a typical day for Jack might include spending time with a sick child or taking siblings to the cinema or play parks while the parents get some respite.
“It’s so important to relieve the family of the everyday suffering they can go through,” Jack said. “That’s what Rainbow Trust really does. They help them deal with their situation in a happier way. They support them.”
Jack is on a gap year before starting Bournemouth University in September and first heard about Rainbow Trust online and finds volunteering extremely rewarding.
“I helped at a Christmas party and dressed up as an elf. More than 100 children were there and they all loved it. It was so nice to see so many children happy.”
He said it was important to give something back to the community and encouraged others to help.
“Even giving five minutes a day or an hour a week. It does not take much and people who work for Rainbow Trust value you so much. I enjoy volunteering and the Family Support Workers have been so helpful. It’s so lovely because I can provide an extra pair of hands to the Family Support Workers who sometimes go out with three or four children on their own. When you walk away from helping someone and drop them off with their families you feel good about yourself. I would like to think that if I was ever in that situation someone would be there to help me.”
Eleanor McDonald, the Family Support Worker who Jack volunteers with, said:
“Jack fitted into our team at Southampton instantly. He is an inspiration to young people thinking of volunteering in their community.The families whom we support love Jack as he fully embraces his role and puts a smile on everyone’s face regardless of their difficult situation.”
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity relies on the support of its volunteers to operate. They fulfil vital tasks including office support, helping at events, fundraising, providing transport and supporting the care teams. In 2014/15, the charity’s 350 volunteers donated 34,687 hours of support. Using the living wage, this equates to an incredible £272,293 of donated time.
If you are interested in volunteering with Rainbow Trust, take a look at our volunteer opportunities or call Andrea Kelley, Volunteer Manager on 01372 220043.