Make this the year you volunteer!

Phil Wilcox

So….. How are those promises you made to yourself all the way back at the turn of the New Year going? You remember how you firmly resolved to have some early nights? Go on that diet? Cut down on your alcohol consumption or your smoking?  I’m willing to bet that for the majority of you your good intentions were short-lived. Well, here’s a suggestion for a resolution which will be a lot easier to achieve and in the long run will prove much more rewarding and gratifying. Why not take a leaf out of my book and apply to be a volunteer at The Children’s Trust? I can thoroughly recommend doing so – and I speak from experience….

Joining The Children’s Trust as a volunteer

Back in 2010, I was preparing to bring the curtain down on a civil service career spanning more than 40 years. As part of the retirement package, a good friend of mine, who was connected with several charities, including The Children’s Trust, asked me if I fancied doing some voluntary work. Within two months, having been interviewed by the Head of Volunteers and passed the necessary security checks, I found myself joining the 500-plus volunteers who work for our organisation. I can honestly say I have not looked back since. Voluntary roles here range from working directly with the children (for example as an assistant in The Children’s Trust School) to administrative work; gardening; and helping at fundraising events such as the very popular annual Supercar weekend, to helping in one our numerous charity shops based in Surrey, Kent and west Sussex, or as a driver, helping to take the children on outings or hospital visits. In my case, as a seasoned communications professional with experience as deputy editor of several publications across Whitehall, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to join our Marketing and Communications team. Since then, I have found myself involved on a one-day-a week basis in anything from helping with mailshot campaigns to proofreading some of The Children’s Trust’s publications, as well as writing blogs and interviewing our staff for articles used on our intranet site. (On one occasion at the top of a tree house!)

Being part of the team

I was warmly welcomed into the friendly team and my talents have been recognised, valued and put to good use. Over the years I have enjoyed helping out at various events, including our summer and Christmas fairs, and have had the huge privilege of seeing, and reporting on, how our therapists work with typical professionalism and patience alongside the children and young people based at Tadworth. In a small way, I even have my own long-lasting memorial here, since I was responsible for choosing and ordering the time capsule buried in the grounds a couple of years ago to mark The Children’s Trust’s 30th anniversary! So you can see my life has changed since I first arrived and, with two Volunteer of the Year awards and a five-year service medal gathered along the way, I always look forward to my weekly stint at The Children’s Trust. It’s stimulating, beneficial and, as far as I am concerned, gives so much more satisfaction than giving up the odd pint of beer…. So, now that spring is here, re-think those resolutions and apply to be a volunteer. You won’t regret it! Follow this link to find out all the ways you can volunteer at The Children's Trust