Chloe is one of our valued volunteers, here is an interview where she gets to talk about what being a Befriender to young Lily has meant to her:
Why did you decide to volunteer?
About a year ago I realised I didn’t give nearly enough money to charities. What most people don’t realise is that time can be even more valuable than a donation, and I had quite a bit of spare time on my hands. I had a search online and I soon came across Time2Share. Reading about the organisation, it became apparent that families can seriously lack emotional and social support, so I put my name forward to help. Fast track to over a year from then, and I have a little friend called Lily that I go swimming and catch Pokémon with every week!
What is your favourite aspect of volunteering?
Like I mentioned above, I’ve gained a friend! I see Lily once a week, on alternate Wednesdays and Saturdays, and I look forward to each visit. Not only have I gained a friend through Lily, I am close with her entire family, from Mum and Dad Lisa and Mark, to their other children Lucy and Luke. Also, from feedback from her parents and through Time2Share, it’s clear that she enjoys her time with me and I have helped her develop into a more independent person – which is so rewarding!
What are your key responsibilities?
Obviously as Lily is still a child, I have to maintain a certain level of care for her. Especially if we’re out of the house, as I am entrusted with sole responsibility. Although now that time has gone on, I can tell that not only Lily but Lisa (her Mum) both trust me to take her out. She’s so well behaved it’s always easy taking care of her anyway . Our visits outside of the home have included Pokémon hunting at the local park, swimming, the SS Great Britain, @Bristol... all sorts! It’s a lot of fun!
What skills have you got out of volunteering?
Empathy is definitely one skill that has developed since becoming a befriender. Not only for Lily and her Family, but empathetic to the disabled community as a whole. I am now also more willing to try new things, as volunteering was never something I imagined myself doing.
What would you say to somebody who is considering volunteering?
It is most of the most rewarding things I have ever done, hands down. I can see how much of a difference it makes just giving Mark and Lisa a few extra hours every week – especially as Lily is the most active and energetic of the bunch. What’s giving up a few hours of your week? Nothing. Yet to families like Mark and Lisa’s it’s everything! And above all... it’s so much fun!! If you’re thinking aboutjoining... do it!