Why you should make volunteering your new resolution

2017 is well and truly here and with it typical resolutions like hitting the gym or saving more money. But if you’re already giving in or struggling for inspiration, why not consider something that can have long lasting impact and help other people – volunteering.

At Blenheim we have a range of exciting volunteer opportunities to suit people with different skills. Hear from Blenheim volunteer Alex James about his experience and why he would recommend it to others.

“I can remember the afternoon clearly; I was sitting having a coffee at a café in Streatham with my girlfriend discussing the option of volunteering at a residential rehab when I received an email from Blenheim informing me that I had an interview for a volunteer post at Lewisham Primary Care Recovery Service (PCRS) –  a recovery service operated by Blenheim.

That was in June 2015, in the following September I started with PCRS. I volunteered Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays which suited me perfectly as I was waiting to start a college course which would be on a Thursday. It was really important that I could be flexible with my time and do other things while volunteering.

Find out about the opportunities available for volunteering at Blenheim here.  

I was told good things about Blenheim’s volunteer programme before I arrived and I was not disappointed. I started off working on reception, which was great because it gave me a chance to get to know the clients. I soon realised the value of this role as I was the client’s first point of contact and the training Blenheim gave me really helped me to spot vulnerable clients and assess and deal with certain situations before they escalated into a problem.

After shadowing my Supervisor for a while I started to complete triage and assessments with clients. I really enjoyed working with the clients and assessment training I received from Blenheim. I spent a lot of time coaching one client who could not read or write, helping him grow in confidence over time. I also co-facilitated weekly PCRS’s Alcohol Awareness Group, which really helped clients realise they were not alone.

Volunteer Alex James receives an award for his work

Volunteer Alex James receives an ASPIRE award for his work

While volunteering I started a Counselling Skills Qualification at college one day a week. This was great because the skills that I was learning at college were very appropriate for using in my voluntary role at PCRS. My college course and voluntary role complemented each other, so the more my confidence and knowledge grew the more I prospered in the other (and vice versa).

I have gained a great deal from volunteering at PCRS and from training with Blenheim as a whole. I have been made to feel like a valued member of our team and my confidence and knowledge has developed and grown immensely over the past year. I have passed my college course with flying colours and I am sure that a big part of this is because I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by such a supportive, approachable and knowledgeable team.

Volunteering at PCRS as enabled me to get a real life insight into the drug and alcohol field and has helped me know that this is a career path that I want to follow. More importantly it has made me realise that it’s something I’m really good at.

This is the start of a long journey of learning for me but I would recommend volunteering to anyone who is interested in working in this field. Volunteering has helped me grow in confidence, mature as a person and has given me new opportunities to move forward in my life.

I am no longer a volunteer; but I was really pleased to recently win an ASPIRE 2016 Volunteer Award from Blenheim in recognition of my work. I am now a Trainee Support Worker at Lewisham PCRS. I am thoroughly enjoying my new role and taking full advantage of all the training and support that this new position brings.

I can’t wait to see what my future holds…”

There are many ways to make an impact as a Blenheim volunteer – in our central office with corporate support, in our drop centres or in one of our many services across London.

Take a look at our dedicated volunteers page for all the information you need including application forms and FAQs. We look forward to working with you! 

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