Stockport Volunteer Club Logo in a landscape format
Jo and a group of people pose for the camera

“Upon leaving university I got a temporary job for HMRC and they introduced me to their corporate volunteering scheme, which was facilitated by an external charity called Business in the Community. I loved the ethos and values of Business in the Community and it inspired me to want to work in the voluntary sector, when a job came up to work for them, I applied and was successful in securing the job, I do think the fact that I’d already volunteered through one of their programmes gave me greater insight and put me ahead of other candidates. Whilst in employment I’ve always held a volunteer position. I’ve volunteered for my local community association, raising money to invest in our village and put on family friendly events. I’ve also been a volunteer mentor to women who are trying to create their own financial independence and are looking to become self-employed. Volunteering is mutually beneficial, whilst it serves a purpose for the host organisation, it’s also very rewarding and provides a greater insight and understanding of communities in which you live.”

I’ve been actively involved in charity work since my childhood, inspired by personal experiences. My journey began with a fundraiser for a new hospital scanner, a way to give back after receiving incredible care for severe asthma and spending many weeks in hospital. During my university years in Manchester, my involvement in volunteering continued with Marie Curie, moved by stories of families they supported. More recently, I’ve started volunteering with Stockport Talking Newspaper, a service my blind grandma really valued. These experiences aren’t just close to my heart; they’re a testament to the impact these organisations have on individual lives. 

Volunteering is more than just giving; it’s a personal journey and connection. The most fulfilling roles for me have been those with a deep personal resonance, where I can relate to the challenges faced by those we help. Each role has introduced me to diverse individuals, each with their own unique story and background. It’s a continuous learning experience for me, filled with opportunities to meet fascinating people and make a real difference. I believe everyone has something to gain from volunteering, and I encourage others to discover this for themselves.”

I have some great memories from volunteering and have met some amazing people. It was so rewarding when I arranged a trip out for a group of families with terminally ill children to go to watch Sale Sharks Rugby Club and when I represented Rainbow Trust at various fundraising events. But I think my proudest achievement was speaking to hundreds of people at a corporate event and raising £95,000 for Rainbow Trust in one evening! Plus I got to meet John Barnes football legend!

“I started my career off in the world of events sponsorship and marketing. After six years of thriving off the dizzying pace of agency life in London, my mental health started to take a turn for the worse. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my work anymore and started to look inwards at my values and beliefs to help guide my next move. I realised I could utilise my skills and experience towards environmental and sustainability causes – something I deeply cared about. But I wasn’t sure how to make this transition and I didn’t have the specific experience employers were looking for. 

Unemployed and feeling stuck I began attending my local Greenpeace group to meet likeminded people and ignite the change I was looking for. I volunteered on campaign days, speaking to local people on market days to raise awareness of and discuss environmental issues. Whilst volunteering with Greenpeace I heard about an environmental charity, Groundwork London who were looking for a Marketing & Comms volunteer. This was the perfect opportunity for me to gain specific experience so that I could then move forwards in my career.

The stars aligned and it just so happened that a full-time Marketing position came up at the charity whilst I was volunteering there. I jumped at the chance and threw myself into the application. With my years long marketing experience under my belt, topped off with direct experience working with Groundwork London as a volunteer, I got the job.

I am so thankful for my volunteering journey that not only enabled me to make a change in my career (and my health), but opened up my world to a vast array of people from all different walks of life – i’ve learnt so much from the people in this sector!”


Laura stands with a colleague at an exhibition stand.
Vicky working with young students in Bulgaria

“When I first started full time work I worked in Management Information Statistics for a large corporate law firm (booooring!). After a while I realised that although I was doing well, it just wasn’t for me. I wanted something that was creative and wanted to work with people.

I quietly started volunteering for a charity supporting young disabled people, as a one-to-one support for a young man called Billy (not actual name). My role was to go along to support him to volunteer. I loved giving up my Saturday mornings to plant trees, attend park runs, distribute leaflets and shake a bucket to raise funds.. anything Billy fancied doing, I went along for the ride and supported him in his striving for more independence.

Fast forward.. I landed my first job in the sector and started work at Stockport’s Volunteer Centre at the old CVS which gave me the opportunity to start people on their own volunteer journey. I continued to volunteer with young people with learning disabilities and autism and picked up a flair for delivering art activities to engage young people in conversations. This led to further career development and a qualification in youth and community studies.

This provided me with the skills, experience and passion to set up my own community interest company with a couple of friends (alongside the day job) to create volunteer opportunities for students in the UK to travel abroad and work in poor rural schools in Bulgaria. This included everything from setting up the placements to influencing change with NGOs and the Bulgarian government. An amazing cause with long standing memories.

Following that I went on to manage a charity supporting the VCFSE (Voluntary, Community, Faith-based & Social Enterprise) sector to deliver quality youth work provision along with providing direct delivery across Stockport.

If it hadn’t have been for the experience I had gained as a volunteer, I would never have had the opportunity to work in a sector I love.”

David sat on a leather sofa looking into the camera.

“On January 19, 2024, I reflect on the pivotal role volunteering has played in propelling my career forward. In 2003, may journey began at the Citizens Advice Bureau as a volunteer, setting the stage for a transformative career trajectory. Building on this experience, I successfully secured a second volunteering position with the national charity, refugee-action, operating in the forced migration sector.

The invaluable experience gained at both the CAB and Refugee Action became the cornerstone of my professional growth, opening doors to a casework role at Refugee Action that spanned over 12 years. Remarkably, I ascended to the position of volunteer coordinator for the UNHCR Gateway Refugee Resettlement Programme in Bolton.

In 2023, I embraced a volunteer role at the Stockport Race Equality Partnership, and within the same year, I cultivated the skills necessary to confidently pursue my current role as the Refugee and Migrant Partner Lead in Stockport.

Reflecting on this journey, I am reminded that giving back to the community is not merely a one-way street—it reciprocates. Invest your time in volunteering and watch as it enriches you with skills that become your greatest assets in shaping a fulfilling career. Volunteering is not just a contribution; it’s a powerful investment in yourself and your professional journey.”

Not all volunteering is a long-term commitment. Hilary took the opportunity to combine her favourite pastime with giving back. For National Tea Day Hilary made 26 cups of tea for her friends and neighbours, using the time as an opportunity to tell them about a fundraiser for local charity, R-Kids. 

Micro-volunteering can be any kind of small activity that doesn’t require alot of time or planning, but can still make a big difference.  

Hilary - a middle-aged woman stood in a kitchen making a cup of tea
Sophie stands in front of the camera, on a pier, wearing a face mask.

“I started volunteering as a teenager in order to build my experience for job applications. As an arts lover and someone who spent much time performing at the local community theatre with my local drama group, I applied to volunteer there. 

As a volunteer usher and fire warden, I was customer-facing, able to watch each of the performances, learn about organisational policy and gain some valuable people skills. Doing this provided me not only with the necessary skills to become successful in applying for part-time work but it gave me a sense of drive and purpose that only comes from doing something you love. 

I often struggled with confidence and mental health during these years, but volunteering was the right step for me to take and environment for me. I felt like I was both giving back and gaining from the experience.

 It led me on to pursue further volunteering roles in the future such as volunteering for Roots, a northern-France based charity supplying clean water, power banks, WIFI and hot showers to displaced communities. I was able to both learn and develop continually in this role from starting as a General Volunteer to becoming the Volunteer Coordinator, Administrative Coordinator and later, after I moved back to complete my degree, a Trustee. Roots supported me in this, and I feel blessed to have met the passionate people I have through volunteering.”

Welcome to your new & improved
Volunteer Hub site!

Welcome to your new and improved Stockport Volunteer Hub website,
we hope you like it!

Voluntary organisations are still in the process of uploading their
Volunteer Roles to the site, so we kindly ask for your patience whilst waiting for the roles to accumulate.

 
Please let us know of any issues you have when using the site.
As it’s fresh there may be some teething problems early on so any feedback you can share is much appreciated.
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