Kathryn Crawt, 23, 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 when she is back in South Holland 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, LCVS 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.”

You can watch a video of Sam’s Story below. Sam approached Volunteer Centre West Lindsey in 2013 looking for a way to fill some time.

George* initially contacted VCS as his long-term voluntary position with a hearing loss support group had come to an end as funding had been cut.  His first interview with a Volunteer Advisor and supporting staff saw that George was clearly down and rather upset that he could no longer volunteer for a project so close to his heart.  Suffering from hearing loss himself, he knew the value of helping others to access services and deal with the stigma of wearing aids in order that they regain a good percentage of their hearing.  George was struggling with the notion that a lack of funding in something so important could have such a negative impact on the local community.

Having recently attended a VCS Forum, where the Action Hearing Loss spokesperson had been appealing for volunteers, the advisors were able to make the suggestion that there may be new initiatives and funding available within Gainsborough.  He was immediately engaged and enthused by the prospect.  Instead of simply giving George some information to take home, the advisors were able to contact the spokesperson by email and telephone as well as set up a meeting between Action on Hearing Loss and George.

Two months on, George has been buddied with another volunteer in the community and been trained to continue the group her was so passionate about.

In a thank you card sent to the team, George said “Thank you so much for putting me in touch with the groups, it’s really turned my life around”

Watch a video from VCS about volunteers who have been supported through the Volunteer Centre.

Adrian Isaac, founder of Boston Woods Trust, says people regularly use volunteering there as a stepping stone to getting their lives and mental health back on track.  He said: “We have had many volunteers come to us because they haven’t got work or who have mental health or physical issues. They work with us for a while, build up their confidence and then move on. It’s always a shame to see them go but we’re happy to support that.”  Read more on LCVS’ website.

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