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‘It just takes one step’ – a volunteering journey with Phyllis

How many times have you seen someone helping out with something locally in your community and thought ‘I wish I could do something like that’, but just not felt like you could?

Well Phyllis takes the lead when it comes to showing us how it’s done!

Due to ill health, Phyllis had previously given up working. As a skilled and experienced person in the wellbeing sector, this was difficult for Phyllis as she felt she still had a lot to offer but she had totally lost her confidence. Then 10 years ago, the Disability Team suggested she try volunteering. Phyllis had never even considered this idea before.

Phyllis was introduced to Activ8 where, in her 1st year, she helped out now and then in the Activ8 Charity Shop alongside others. Her confidence grew quickly as she saw the value in contributing her time to such a worthy cause, and within a year she had progressed to working independently and had accessed a range of supported training. Phyllis wanted more, she wanted something she could really get her teeth into.

There was nothing stopping Phyllis. She got herself involved in supporting a range of activities on offer, including Befriending, 1:1 Support, Pampering, Recovery College and Jewellery making group. The next thing she knew, she was offered the opportunity to help run ‘The Friday Group’ for 2 weeks while the group lead was on leave. Phyllis felt like she was finally starting to make use of her wonderful skills, qualifications and experience again and so she continued to stay on and support the group and eventually lead the group herself.

This wonderful volunteering journey hasn’t been without it’s hurdles or complications for Phyllis. She has a lot of physical health issues, she’s had pneumonia and she has lived with depression. Phyllis has found that negatives can actually be used in such positive ways, as she has been able to use her lived experiences to help others in ways she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The people she supports know that she’s non-judgemental, they want to talk to her, and she knows she’s done a good job when they leave feeling relaxed.

Phyllis says that volunteering has given her self-worth back. She says ‘It just takes one step – the 1st step is the hardest but you won’t know until you try – give it a go!’

Hastings Voluntary Action work with everyday people in the local community to find suitable volunteering opportunities. Organisations receive regular support to look at transforming their opportunities to make them more accessible to fit with today’s lifestyles and needs.

If you would like to get more involved in your community, have a look at which promotes a wide range of local opportunities, or our website has the latest news on some new opportunities too

But if you don’t know where to start or just need a helping hand with that 1st step, contact Hastings Voluntary Action on 01424 444010 / and ask for Tanya or Sarita.


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