Volunteer Gabriela encourages anyone with some spare time to consider volunteering for Rainbow Trust

A volunteer for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is calling on more volunteers to come forward and help support families with a seriously ill child to mark Volunteers Week which runs from 1-7 June.

Data scientist Gabriela Manzella, applied to be a volunteer with Rainbow Trust in 2020 just before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now she is calling on others to join her and volunteer to help families with a life-threatened or terminally ill child. The charity has seen a steep fall in volunteer numbers since the pandemic began with a decline of 28% from its volunteering community.

Gabriela says:

“I have always really liked children and thought I wanted a change in my career. I considered social work or teaching but when I heard about local volunteer opportunities with Rainbow Trust I thought that might be the change I was looking for and decided to apply. I am so glad that I did and I have been supporting a local family with six young boys aged between six months and 14 years so it’s pretty varied and busy!”

Rainbow Trust supports families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. When a child has a serious illness, family life is turned upside down and time becomes more precious than ever. Rainbow Trust pairs each family with an expert Family Support Worker who enables them to make the most of time together, giving them practical and emotional support, whenever they need it, for as long as is needed. The COVID-19 pandemic piled further unimaginable pressure onto these parents and children, and the charity’s Family Support Workers continue to provide a lifeline to them.

Gabriela says:

“I would encourage anyone with some spare time to consider volunteering for Rainbow Trust. My role is to support the family in any way I can; even small things make a real difference. Sometimes I simply play with the kids to free up time for mum and dad to spend with their ill child who needs their attention most. It can be a challenge as there is a wide range of ages but I will always cherish the sheer delight and laughter when I took four of them on a multi swing in the local playground. Taking kids to the park is such a simple thing but it gives the parents precious time to deal with everything else involved in caring for a seriously ill child.
“Every time I spend time with the family I come home feeling a little lighter. The family I support are so lovely and include me in their meals and day to day lives. I enjoy experiencing their culture too since they are from Afghanistan and I am originally from Brazil – our lives are very different but I feel I am gaining as much from this experience as I am giving.”

Rainbow Trust has ten different volunteer positions available, ranging from office volunteers and drivers to family support volunteers and regional ambassadors. Rainbow Trust relies on the dedication of its team of 250 volunteers. Whether you can give a few hours, a day or two or want to become a lifelong volunteer, your time really does count.

Maddie Thomas, Rainbow Trust’s volunteer Manager says:

“Volunteers Week is an opportunity for Rainbow Trust to really celebrate our wonderful volunteers and say a massive thank you our volunteers for their continued help and dedication. Volunteers like Gabriela have been vital in helping us continue to reach families who have had to deal with the immense pressure and stress of the pandemic on top of coping with their child’s illness. We would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved and join Gabriela and our team of incredible volunteers.”