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Volunteering

debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
edited August 2018 in Employment
Hi, 
Just wanted to post about my experiences of having long term illness and having to become proactive in seeking work in past couple of years due to claiming JSA. 
I sign on every fortnight for JSA as I got taken off Esa. I have to be actively seeking work every day and I get support from an organisation called SAMH who are working with jobcentreplus to support people like me to gain employment. Its going really well. Previously I received support from Ramh ( a local charitable organisation) with employability issues and the local adult learning team who suppirted me with volunteering opportunities. Initially it was very difficult for me to contemplate being around others and managing my health issues but I found the experience so rewarding. I found that giving my time freely doing something I enjoy was such a buzz. From there I gained experience and confidence that I could look at part time jobs working in that field. I was supported to do this and currently work 6 hours per week whilst claiming JSA which entitles me to other help that I need to survive. 
Its so hard to manage living with chronic illness, looking for work and just surviving day to day. What I have found through volunteering and taking things at my own pace and getting support from other organisations, that life is not just about surviving. Its about living your life and enjoying it your way. Making the best of what you have when you are able to and looking after yourself. Chronic illness can make me very isolated and introverted and selfish. Thats survival mode. Giving a little bit of myself to others is surprisingly unselfish and enriching and joyful and comes back tenfold. Not all the time, just sometimes. But its so worth it. For me, pushing through my barriers is so helpful to my recovery. It gives me hope.  I never thought I would be where I am right now despite chronic illness. It doesnt matter where you go on your journey, just take a step.
💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️

Replies

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    No replies. I think it was too long? Looking back now ive come a long way since March so I am glad I posted it. Theres so much going on its no wonder it got missed. Volunteering eh? Big shout out to the ones at Scope!!! 
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @debbiedo49, how is the volunteering going at the moment? I love volunteering and also think it is a great thing to do! I too have found that it helps me manage my disability and get out of the house, as well as helping others and being really rewarding!
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • RipplesRipples Posts: 185Member Pioneering
    I'm glad you are getting something out of volunteering. There have been so many cutbacks to local services that some things would not function without volunteers. Northamptonshire county council for example has to find £70 million pounds of savings which will have a direct effect on services across the spectrum.
  • feirfeir Posts: 356Member Pioneering
    My sister loves doing stuff like this, unfortunately she had to quit. Happy to hear it is working out for you and has boosted your confidence.
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    Hiya, nah  not too long! Really interesting post and I do think volunteering is such an important part of society but yeah  also of your own progress towards or instead of paid work.

    I'm too tired to type more today... Will pop back later xxx

    How is it going now? 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • hyancinthhyancinth Posts: 12Member Connected
    Hi Debbie49

    Im new today and I too am taking steps to volunteer just as of today so your post has resonated. What you have said about it helping you is what Im hoping for too. I think its about choosing the right thing for us individually. I am very nervous but I guess alot of people will also be its a matter of going for it at first and try it on for size. The great thing is that we can get to do something we really like unlike often when we work we are just paying bills.

    Im choosing one that will help me mentally and physically with not too much people contact but with the option to increase if I feel (and being hopeful..when) feel ok about that.

    I really do think everyone should be volunteering doing what they can or suits them.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @hyancinth and a warm welcome to the community! I hope volunteer can help you. What kind of things were you wanting to do? Please do keep us updated! We would love to hear all about it :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • hyancinthhyancinth Posts: 12Member Connected
    Hi Chloe
    Im planning on outdoor volunteering. Cleanng up countryside and waterways etc. Im just about physically fit enough (but will be much better after it) but mainly its the mental health part. I know this is perfect for me personally.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    @hyancinth, this sounds amazing!! I hope you manage to get that in place and have a good time doing it!
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    Right now I am not volunteering as I do part time work and I couldn't do both at the same time. I focussed on starting andd maintaining the work and hope to get back into volunteering if I can. I would never have got back to any work without volunteering when I did. So I feel really sad about it. But I know that with my health issues I cant take on too much. 2 other things that came from volunteering, I got enhanced disclosure check and photo I d paid for by my local employabilty department of the council and I then used the photo I d for my new job. From there I took up part time vocational modules online which were paid for through government funding. So it just keeps on giving. What I found terrifying back then became less terrifying and then enjoyable. I know I have anxiety when I try new things but I know now I can try new things and become less anxious, and thats the big difference.
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,439Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    Go for it.

    Volunteering can look appealing on your CV or resume (for Americans). Good luck with this opportunity!! Just out of curiosity what sort of volunteer work are you considering? Also do you mind keeping us updated? I want to hear more about this. 

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    I volunteered at a local kids club once a week. I had never worked with kids before and I loved it. It led me to part time work with kids with sen. I love it.
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,184Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @debbiedo49 over the years I have volunteered in various ways, charities, youth groups, parent governor and in 2005 joined the board of a non profit organisation. While I have enjoyed and got different things out of each opportunity the last one was by far the most challenging.

    It was also the one that threw me way out of my comfort zone, and had a huge impact on getting me back into work. With the support of the staff and board members I learned so much and it helped to give me a new direction.

    When I did start work I gave up being chair of the board and being on the board so I could concentrate on getting on in my work. I am now in a position where I can do both and I am currently again chair of the board and again in many ways being put out of my comfort zone but enjoying it.

    I personally believe when we give of ourselves freely we also receive things that are not always easily identifiable at the time. One of these are opportunities that can arise which we can either accept or decline, and knowing which to do is not always easy but then this is how life works. I am glad to hear that yours lead to work and for what it is worth I think you are right to concentrate on your job and wish you well in it.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • hyancinthhyancinth Posts: 12Member Connected
    hyancinth said:
    Hi Chloe
    Im planning on outdoor volunteering. Cleanng up countryside and waterways etc. Im just about physically fit enough (but will be much better after it) but mainly its the mental health part. I know this is perfect for me personally.
    So I joined and am going for my first proper day this week. Im so looking forward to it. I as a little nervos around the people. I just stay a little reserved at first but still friendly enough. I find people difficult you see. As Ive decided on grafting outdoors I will be in my element.

    I was so impressed that I decided to go for it. I felt Id achieved something.
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    Good luck!
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @hyancinth, how did the volunteering go? It is an amazing achievement!
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • hyancinthhyancinth Posts: 12Member Connected
    Hello update on volunteering:
    Ive been a few times and Im really enjoying it. I get fresh air, some physical (good for mh) the social part is optional in a way, dont have to be too friendly (Im not too good at this right now)  but its managed in a way that means no one feels awkward or left out (good supervisors who handle everyone well)
    I recc finding something that suits you. Remember there is no obligation to be there more than you can or want to - are capable of. Its not like having to go to work. There will always be a mix so you will find someone you connect with. I see that in what Im doing so Im sure it happens elsewhere. The beauty is though you dont get paid you get to have a go at something you like that you may have/would chosen as employment in little bites. Good luck.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    This is so great to hear @hyancinth! Thank you so much for updating us! It sounds like a great opportunity for you and I am sure they are extremely grateful for the work that you do!
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    Fantastic!
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    Hi all,done some volunteering at a couple of mental health charities,doing various duties ,as a co ordinator of mutualhelp meetings for people with all types of issues,to visiting hospitals,and resource centres ,talking to patients,reporting issues ,found it confidence building ,and helped my sense of self worth
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @SHEBA and a very warm welcome to the community! This is great news! It sounds like amazing work :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    Very kind Chloe,it was ,I haven't done any for a while,one has closed down ,due to lack of funding,the other was a while ago,but was extremely beneficial ,in educating me ,and getting to know others.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    You've still done it @SHEBA! I am so glad you found it beneficial- I love volunteering :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    Would love to get involved in something,nothing too much,as I am social phobic,and stuck in ,most of the time,and cant travel too far,most of what I did was local[ish],and expenses paid.

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    @SHEBA, any work that you're able to manage is amazing! It is also okay to not be able to do anything at this moment in time. Volunteering when you're able is more than enough! You come first :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    Thanks Chloe,if I get the chance I will,its a case of things coming together,I am almost always alone[apart from ,some anti social types] most of the time.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Well l hope the community is able to be there for you during those times @SHEBA :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    I hope so ,too glad theres one resource to be there ,thank you.

  • debbiedo49debbiedo49 Posts: 2,902Member Disability Gamechanger
    @SHEBA I understand where you are coming from as I have suffered from agoraphobia myself (recovering) and volunteering for me was a way of me being in control of what I was doing outside the home at my pace. I learned the joy of giving my time for free and receiving so much in return. I tried something I wasnt sure I could do but wanted to do and found I loved it. I wish I could do it regularly. Its like paying it forward. But my pain issues got worse and other commitments are stopping me right now. Its important to know your limits too. 
    💜🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
    I am a fibro warrior !💜♏️
  • SHEBASHEBA Posts: 13Member Connected
    Debbie,yes ,you are right,I was sceptical, I could do the volunteering,being social phobic,but was surprised ,that I felt better when I had gotten used to talking with like minded people,it took a while,but I got a lot out of helping others ,and it helped my general confidence.Sorry to hear of your pain issues,I have had chronic pain,for 22yrs,getting worse,but would still like to do whatever I can,sadly many charities,are being stopped by lack of funding,some even closing ,after 30 yrs.Thanks so much for your contact,appreciate your comments ,stay strong. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,837Administrator Scope community team
    Thanks for your input on this @debbiedo49 and @SHEBA, I am sure others will find this interesting and it is really nice to hear what you have been up to :) 
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • GiantGiant Posts: 3Member Listener
    Hi,
    I am on ESA and used to be in the WRAG.  I was forced by the jobcentre into volunteering.  Finding a placement was difficult because of my visual impairment, but I started doing admin work for the CAB 2 years ago.  Because I have anxiety and depression I struggle to get there regularly and am away more than I am there.  When I do go I enjoy it.  Thankfully since I started I have been put in the support group so no longer get hounded by the jobcentre.
  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Posts: 5,856Member Disability Gamechanger
    Glad to hear you enjoy your work when you're there, @Giant. I'm sure many others will be able to relate to the struggle of getting out sometimes, but it's great that it seems to be worthwhile!
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Posts: 5,771Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I volunteered at a charity for my work experience during secondary school and ever since then I've always been been devoted to volunteering or charity work. It was eye-opening and I loved every second of it. Volunteering is the best way to make friends and build your confidence! :)
    You're a fighter. Look at everything you've overcome. Don't give up now!
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