Jill lives in Witney and has been a volunteer with Volunteer Link Up since 2017. She does driving, has done shopping for people on a regular and ad hoc basis and has had a befriending role which was very successful. She says that she has ‘always been a volunteer…always been that person who couldn’t just sit there when somebody asked if someone would like to volunteer’.
Professionally, Jill’s background was in teaching and for the last 20 years of her career she was a deputy head of a primary school specialising in Special Educational Needs. As a teacher, Jill has always gone above and beyond her role and so volunteering comes naturally to her; ‘it’s part of you, you’re simply like that and it’s who you are’. Volunteering post-retirement is merely part of that continuum of care and commitment. Since retiring she has not only volunteered with VLU but also with a special educational needs disability charity supporting families in which she made use of her teaching skills and experience.
The impetus to volunteer was that Jill missed meeting new people after working in a busy school. Personal reasons prompted her to seek out VLU. Her mother was ill for a long time and an elderly uncle also needed support. They both lived in Devon and she got in touch with an organisation similar to VLU in the area to organise some support for them both, so when it came for her to decide how to use her time on retirement ‘it was an obvious move to do something that mirrored the kind of support my mother and uncle had both received and also to pay back the wonderful care and help they had had’ from people they had come to know and trust. She also wanted a change from working with children and as she had always got on well with older people, VLU seemed a good match.
For Jill, volunteering is all about relationships, ‘building relationships, maintaining relationships, about the ability to step into somebody’s life and see it from their point of view and help them in some little way.’
Jill also appreciates the support she gets from VLU; the cheerful response from the office, the efficient administration and the fact that VLU is accepting of what she can and can’t do so she doesn’t feel under any pressure to take on a role and doesn’t feel guilty if she can’t do something.
So if you have a little time to spare and want to make a real difference to the West Oxfordshire community, get in touch and we can link up your abilities with people who really need and appreciate them.