As part of Volunteer Week celebrations, Third Sector D&G asked Alexandra Dickson to share her thoughts on volunteering with us at D&G Befriending Project.
1. Name: Alexandra Dickson
2. Organisation volunteering with and role:
I am a volunteer befriender for the Dumfries and Galloway Befriending Project.
3. Length of time you have volunteered in this role:
I have been a befriender for 18 months following my block of training Oct-Dec 2017.
4. What made you consider becoming a volunteer?
Having friends that were befrienders allowed me to see the real benefit that can be made to a young person’s life through befriending. I knew I had the time to give to the project and thought what better way to spend it than supporting a young person through a difficult time.
5. What motivates you to continue volunteer?
The transition you see in a young person from the first meeting to final outing is amazing. Also, the feedback from parents/family/teachers on the difference in your young person is lovely to hear and spurs you on to continue.
6. What impact has volunteering had on your life?
Being a volunteer befriender has allowed me to reflect on my own childhood and realise how lucky I was to have the upbringing I did. It has made me a very grateful person.
7. What skills have you brought to your role and what skills have you learned?
I believe I am a good listener and I have certainly practised this skill during befriending. Sometimes advice isn’t always needed, just a listening ear for your young person to open up about their struggles. I have learned that young people have many influences when growing up and having somebody to recognise these and provide support can really make a difference.
8. What else should a volunteer bring to the role?
A volunteer should provide a safe space for the young person to be themselves and let go. They should be able to listen and show understanding, giving advice and support when needed. A willingness to learn new things is always helpful too.
9. What makes an organisation a great place to volunteer?
Knowing that you have ongoing support throughout is very reassuring. Coordinators that are easy to contact and always there to listen and answer any questions. A good training programme in the beginning combats any uncertainties about volunteering and allows for all your questions/issues to be raised and discussed.
10.What would you say to someone who is sitting on the fence about becoming a volunteer?
Everybody has a spare hour or two in their week and what better way to spend it than influencing and shaping the life of a young person. You also get to take part in lots of activities, some new and some that take you back to your childhood. Being a volunteer is very rewarding.
If you would like more information on us please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or call 01387 247812.
To share your volunteer profiles, message Third Sector D&G or email firstname.lastname@example.org