Sally’s Story is the second of our winners in the Volunteer Essex Story Competition 2018. Our third winner’s story will appear on Thursday 15th June.
Why I Volunteer:
I gave up my career to raise my children but as they grew and became more independent I found I needed a new purpose to my life, a new challenge.
Citizens Advice is my purpose: an escape from the humdrum of housework and cooking, where I can exercise my brain again by immersing myself in the problems of others and make a connection with people from all walks of life. The different people I meet or talk to on the phone inspire me to try my hardest to understand the complexities of the benefits system or the best way to complain about a faulty purchase.
My life sometimes seems like a dream compared to the problems of others. With a little bit of bad luck or a few bad choices I could also be struggling as so many people are and it is reassuring to think that there is someone there who will give their time to listen and offer constructive advice.
During my time at Citizens Advice I have grown as a person. I have more confidence and self-esteem and have new found interest in the world around me. I had not always understood the difficulties people face and the reasons why some seem to struggle in life so much. But with the training I have received and the support of the other volunteers I can see why it can be so difficult to pick oneself up again after a set-back. I see the world differently now and the inequalities in life that were someone else’s problem. But now in a small way I am making a difference, person by person.
From the training I have received, and the opinions of others, I have gained knowledge that I employ in my everyday life and I am also more flexible and open-minded in any situation. I love the challenge that each question brings.
I have considered going back to paid employment but it can be daunting after so many years away. Now I feel confident in my abilities having gained new skills, knowledge and experience that the step into employment seems such a small step. Each time I am at Citizens Advice I learn something new. I continue volunteering because it fills me with hope that there are so many people trying to make a difference every day. I enjoy the company of the like-minded people I volunteer alongside and the conversations with the varied people I meet. Volunteering gives me more balance in my life.
To view Citizens’ Advice Bureau volunteering opportunities in your area click on the links below or contact your local volunteer centre