Volunteer Spotlight – Joanne Burgess and Rachel McInerney

Joanne has been volunteering on reception since June. Our volunteer receptionists are vital to the smooth running of the organisation, and make sure that all our staff and visitors are met with a friendly welcome.

Joanne Burgess

Since leaving school I had always worked in an admin/customer service environment but due to ill health I had to give up work.While I was out of work, various organisations helped me to get my confidence back; this has made me feel that I would like to get back into a working environment. So I decided to become a volunteer for a few days a week, to build up my self esteem and to see how I coped with my illness in a working environment.

I have now been volunteering on the reception for 5 months and I am loving it. I have been made to feel really welcome and feel part of the team.

Rachel volunteers in our Supporting People department and has enjoyed working on a variety of projects.

Rachel McInerney

I started helping with B-Sage, assisting clients with varying needs such as MS and arthritis. I found the experience really, really interesting as it really opens your eyes. I learnt loads- something different every day.

After B-Sage I joined the Refugee Team which was a brilliant learning experience and very rewarding . The majority of the clients had been through some kind of bad experience back in their home country  and it was very upsetting  hearing about some of their experiences and how they just wanted to settle down in a country they felt safe.

One case was a client who was homeless and we helped with finding her somewhere to live and took her to a food bank as she had no money as her benefits had stopped. Within a couple of months, with our support she had made big improvements in her life. The client has started a college course as she really wants to be a nurse and has enrolled at the Volunteering Services and also attends church on a Sunday.

Seeing a client improve so much and her confidence growing is very rewarding and just shows how important  the service is.

Freshwinds are a really good organisation and I chose to volunteer here because there is a bit of everything.