Volunteer Good News Story: Brighter Living Partnership

People volunteer for many reasons and can get a lot back from it, whether that’s to make new friends, improve or gain skills or give back to their local community. During Volunteers’ Week 2022, Volunteer Centre Sefton is sharing good news stories from volunteers across the borough. Here is Angela’s story.

Angela moved to Southport from the Isle of Man in 2016 with her son, Harry. Harry has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, and Angela hoped the move to the area would provide him with more opportunities to further his education. Naturally, having moved to a new town, Angela started to feel a little isolated. She decided that once Harry had settled in to the routine of attending a new school, that she would start to look for opportunities for herself that would allow her to connect more with her new community. Angela found Charlie’s Way, a support group for parents of children who have Special Educational Needs, located down the road from her home at Southport Community Centre.

Having made new friends at Charlie’s Way, and after making connections with some of the staff at the Community Centre, Angela expressed a desire to commit some of her free time to volunteering in the local community. She attended a Volunteer Speed Matching event in 2018, where she found that she could use the skills she had in a variety of ways. As someone who was looking to confront their own feelings of isolation, this proved to be an invaluable step for Angela. Volunteering gives people the chance to have fun and socialise, meet new people and make friends, and be a valuable part of their community. Volunteering allows us to make a positive impact on the lives of those around us, whilst often giving us the means to foster our own personal development, all the while increasing our sense of wellbeing. This was certainly true for Angela, who told us that “Volunteering gave me a new confidence and many opportunities, including working with the High Park project, Lunch Club, and getting involved with special events and activities.” Given the positive impact that volunteering was having on Angela’s life, she decided to volunteer for Queenscourt Hospice during this time as well.

Over time, Angela describes how her confidence grew, to the point where in November 2021 Angela was offered a paid role at the Community Centre with Brighter Living Partnership as an Engagement Support Worker. Angela secured the role through the Time To Shine programme at the Rank Foundation, which aims to develop new leaders and embed them within local community charities.

Angela believes that her experiences as a volunteer were invaluable, and that she wouldn’t have grown and developed in to her current position were it not for the opportunities she received through becoming a volunteer. Angela is now an invaluable member of the staff at Brighter Living Partnership, and remains a fixture at Southport Community Centre, where she still gives up her time to volunteer. Angela told us that she would recommend becoming a volunteer to anyone, and that anyone who has even an hour of spare time a week to give to their community can experience all the benefits that volunteering has to offer.

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