Katie has been volunteering at Accuro’s Cool Connections Club in Harlow since October 2019. In this interview, Accuro Fundraising Manager Sue Fishpool asked Katie about her volunteer journey.
Q. How did you hear about the volunteer opportunity at Accuro?
A. I was looking to volunteer in a role that specifically works with people with learning disabilities, particularly autism. I heard about this role through my Mum who knew of Accuro as a local charity.
Q. Was volunteering for a local charity important for you?
A. I am 24 and have grown up in Harlow. I think volunteering to work with young people who are growing up in the same town as me, gives me something in common with them and an element of understanding. I am very happy to volunteer for a local charity.
Q. We are in Volunteer Week and are celebrating our fantastic volunteers and all the wonderful work that you do for Accuro, thank you so much Katie! Can you tell me about what you have got out of your volunteering?
A. It makes me so happy. I enjoy the Club just as much as the members, I bounce off the energy and always leave feeling really happy.
It makes me feel good knowing that I am making a difference, volunteering at Accuro is so fulfilling.
Q. Would you say that volunteering at Accuro has been a reciprocal relationship?
A. Definitely. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are helping the members to build their social networks and to see them gain confidence. The members feel accepted at Club and so do I.
Q. How have you found volunteering virtually at Club Zoom meetings during lockdown?
A. I think the virtual meetings have been great for keeping a routine which is so important in conditions like Autism where consistency is key. They offer something for the members to look forward to in the same safe environment as Club where there are no expectations other than being who you are.
I also think the meetings also allow members who may not have the confidence to connect with friends themselves the opportunity to see friends and stay in touch during lockdown.
Q. What do you hope to take away from your volunteer journey in terms of personal development?
A. I work with adults with Autism and my volunteering at Cool Connections has helped me to take people as they are and to help them blossom. I feel more confident about developing relationships with anyone and to be able to see the value in everyone without being judgemental.
Q. Would you recommend volunteering?
A. Yes, everyone should try volunteering. It is so much about give and take; I get so much out of it. I have made so many friends at Accuro and would miss them so much. I would like to continue to volunteer for as long as I can.
Q. In three words can you sum up how volunteering for Accuro makes you feel?
A. Enthusiastic, positive, grateful.