I was lucky enough to escape the rat race and corporate world in my 40’s and suddenly found myself in a position to pursue what I wanted to do rather than what I had to do. I have a beautiful family that support my every passion, and I found myself really drawn to helping others and realised the rewards far outweighed chasing big salaries and faster cars.
I had no experience at all working with learning disabilities or volunteering, so literally produced a list of vulnerable groups that I could dedicate some time toward…I considered everything from young offenders to the aged, but kept finding myself wanting to help those with learning disabilities.
I retired from working around 5 years ago and pretty much immediately started a chaperoning position for a Mencap member called Mary*. I would take her to 18+ club every Thursday, and slowly became closer to all of the other members and volunteers…..and despite Mary moving away, I had found a special group of friends that I would never leave.
I am involved with the 18+ group who meet every Thursday evening, and for the last three or four years I have attended all of the holidays which usually consist of three a year. I also try and attend other trips such as the theatre etc.
As a volunteer I feel my role is one of many…. Whilst obviously ensuring the guys are safe, I try to enhance and create as much fun as possible, by enhancing time with them. Basically you are creating friendships, and just like any friendships you need to have trust, patience, a sense of humour, integrity, love, empathy and make time.
Many view my volunteering as selfless, but I have to confess it is absolutely brilliant. To spend so much time with so many beautiful souls is an absolute privilege. Of course there are occasionally tears, but when you are with people that have pure souls, no malice and just a zest for everything in life it really is infectious. The darkest day can become the brightest after some time with these guys….and they are now my friends.
If you like to laugh a lot and make new friends look no further.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Laura by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01179 865659, or you can apply online by clicking the button below. We would love to hear from you!
* names have been changed