Volunteers' Week Blog

 A volunteer wears a new uniform

This week is the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week, and we want to thank our 20,000 plus volunteers who work year-round to provide first aid in communities up and down the country. Hear from our volunteers, in their own words, about what their role means to them.

Rebecca Osborne, Youth Officer

I became a volunteer with St John Ambulance six months ago when I learnt about the charity’s RISE project. The project aims to provide first aid skills and personal development opportunities to 14 to 25-year-olds not currently in education, employment or training.

The RISE project is run by young people for young people, and fosters mutual respect between those learning first aid and those teaching it. It also makes learning first aid accessible to young people of all different abilities and backgrounds.

 

The thing I enjoy most about volunteering with the RISE project is getting to work with young people – all of whom became involved with the project for many different reasons. Some wanting to build on first aid knowledge for their future career, and some joined for personal pursuits, such as building self-confidence.

Although it is challenging to balance full time work, volunteering as a Youth Officer has given me experience working with young people – something I’m passionate about – and keeps me focused on achieving a career working with young people in the near future.

The experience I get from volunteering is invaluable and I get to work within a team of fellow volunteers who also share my passion about ensuring positive opportunities for young people. I have gained new skills, such as learning first aid, and gaining the confidence to teach it!

I have had some amazing experiences while teaching first aid. One discussion that often comes up with the young people is about volunteering. When they find out that I’m a volunteer, the first question is always ‘so you don’t get paid then?’ This will often lead to questions about the importance of volunteers.

I am honest with them and explain that I have been through school and university, but this is not enough for me. I tell them that I want to work with young people and with organisations that allow people to gain skills to help them achieve. I then explain that without volunteers, a lot of the organisations they are a part of would not be able to continue to provide services.

This often gets them thinking – and the majority change their opinions on volunteering. I actively encourage the young people to get involved with volunteering roles, because hands-on experience may help them find a career they love and want to work towards, too.

To learn more about Rebecca’s role, please visit our Volunteering section. The Volunteers Week is an initiative of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.