As part of Volunteer Week celebrations, Third Sector D&G asked Bill Maloney to share her thoughts on volunteering with us at D&G Befriending Project.
1 Name: Bill Maloney
2 Organisation volunteering with and role:
Dumfries and Galloway Befriending Project
3 Length of time you have volunteered in this role:
Around ten years as a Befriender.
4 What made you consider becoming a volunteer?
I have volunteered with several community-based projects over the past thirty years so not new to volunteering. In the case of the Befriending Project two friends of mine, on two separate occasions, gave me a leaflet to look at. They thought that I would make a good befriender so I contacted the project office and undertook the training. All went well and I subsequently agreed to commit to at least a six month befriending match, and I’m still here.
5 What motivates you to continue to volunteer?
The young people, their families, teachers and others tell me that I make a difference in the lives of the youngsters. This is my motivation.
6 What impact has volunteering had on your life?
Volunteering has made my life a lot busier and fuller and interesting and enjoyable.
7 What skills have you brought to your role and what skills have you learned?
I have a wide range of hobbies and work experiences all of which help me to inform and entertain the kids. They have different interests and needs so I like to introduce them to new experiences as well as try their hobbies. Each boy has had a different issue that brought them to the project and over the years I have tried to understand these different problems.
8 What else should a volunteer bring to the role?
The most important thing is that a volunteer should be themselves. We each have different skills and abilities which the project team are able to match youngster and befriender. These children need a person they can relate to not a super-human. And humour is very important.
9 What makes an organisation a great place to volunteer?
Training, on-going support and advice and being available make a great organisation. The D&G Befriending Project is all of these.
10 What would you say to someone who is sitting on the fence about becoming a volunteer?
Volunteering, especially with children, is very rewarding. These days there is a growing need to support some children and their families. It might not suit everyone but I would suggest giving it a try because when it works volunteering is very satisfying and rewarding.
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