Volunteer Week – Edna’s Story
In 2015 after being retired for several years, I found myself for the first-time in my life with “time on my hands”. I had originally planned to fill my retirement days with voluntary work, however family illnesses, bereavements had to take precedence for a time.
I had always lived by the belief that everyone has an equal right to be able to give and to receive from one another, consequently volunteering was a natural response within me. I had identified MAF as the Charity of choice for several reasons:
(A) over the years in the course of my previous employment as a Social Worker, I had met many people who had been affected with Childhood Sexual Abuse, and seen at first hand the trauma and impact this had had on their lives.
(B) on discovering MAF as a local although National Charity who could offer appropriate supports, I was not only impressed by their range of specialist services, but very much on how they were delivered; with each person referred to them treated with the utmost care; respect, and in a highly confidential manner.
(C) in the course of my involvement, I felt, that the high emphasis on confidentiality must have a negative bearing on the service becoming “well known”, however when I learned about their volunteer service, and the promotion of the service being part of the volunteer role, this prompted my initial desire to offer my service as a volunteer with MAF.
I remember how anxious I felt when I submitted my application to become a volunteer, I had been retired for several years and concerned that my age might preclude me. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. I quickly learned that age is no barrier to being accepted; learning new skills, or in becoming a member of a diverse group where I feel very valued.
After selection I underwent a period of training, which was informative and enjoyable, and provided the opportunity to bond well with the other volunteers and learn more about the charity. I learned during this time that the primary role of a volunteer with MAF would be to Fundraise, raise awareness and promote the Charity. Bit by bit, and with the support of other volunteers and staff, I regained old skills, developed new skills and now feel reasonably confident in my volunteering role.
In terms of Fundraising, I have taken part in sponsored walks, helped at fashion shows; bag packed at supermarkets; and carried out a variety of tasks for our primary fundraising event, our yearly Ladies Lunch. These have been in the main largely enjoyable events, and highlighted my newly acquired teamwork and organisational skills.
In terms of promoting the service, I have “staffed” promotion of MAF stalls in colleges and schools, and in networking with relevant organisations.
Last year COVID restrictions meant we were not able to carry out our usual fund- raising activities. Consequently, in order to help fill the financial void this created, some volunteers (in line with Government COVID regulations) held small fund-raising events in their gardens or homes for family and friend. These were very successful events; proved to be very enjoyable and profitable, as well as being great fun. We held tea parties, curry evenings, sponsored individual walks, hill climbs etc.
As Volunteers we are very aware of the importance of fundraising to support the work of the Charity, as every penny raised goes to provide support and therapies which can make lifesaving difference to people’s lives.
For me, this is a very humbling, yet empowering experience, to know that I have helped lessen someone’s pain and trauma. it also gives me an amazing sense of purpose and joy. Hence 5 years on I am still committed to Volunteering to this amazing Charity.