An Aylesbury mum is supporting Volunteers Week (1-7 June) after working as a volunteer with Spurgeons Children’s Charity at Southcourt Children’s Centre.
Mum of three, Salma Rafiq, applied to volunteer with the charity, after her third child started at part time nursery. Salma decided she wanted to give something back to the community and brush up on her work skills after being out of the job market for over three years.
Salma said: “I needed to get my confidence back and have something to do. Volunteering opened my eyes to show me I can do more. It’s also helped me to focus more on myself and also what I can give to others”.
Salma has given up two mornings each week supporting the children’s centre since November 2016. With access to full training and support from her team at Spurgeons, her role involved everything from acting as ‘welcomer’ at reception when people are arriving and co-facilitating learning and development sessions; to interpreting for families referred for 1:1 Family Support who do not speak English.
Lisa Chambers, Spurgeons Children’s Services Manager, said: “Volunteers play a crucial role in helping deliver local support in the community. Salma has been an asset to our team and an invaluable support to the families using our services. Volunteering can be a great way for people to gain new skills and knowledge, whether you want to get back to work, or change your career path”.
Salma volunteered for a wide variety of tasks with Spurgeons as she wasn’t sure what career path she might pursue and has learnt from shadowing team members. She realised she enjoyed family support work and is now planning to undertake training at Level 3 in Health and Social Care.
Salma added: “I would say to other people who are thinking of volunteering, take a chance and get up and do it. It will give you so much insight and help you get back to work and make lots of new friends”.
For Spurgeons, volunteers are an invaluable part of their wider team, helping deliver far reaching work in local communities across England. They currently work with around 200 volunteers in projects around the country, which are focused on supporting some of the most vulnerable children and families. All volunteers are given full training and support, with access to relevant qualifications and learning and development opportunities. Many go on to become members of staff.