The benefits of volunteering – my experience

Ayan Ali Ayan Ali

We often think of volunteers as people who have a lot of spare time and are perhaps retired. While that can be the case sometimes – anyone can be a volunteer.

I found that as a working mum of two I didn’t think I would be able to fit volunteering into my schedule. However, working at TimeBank has given me a whole new perspective.

Every employee gets five volunteering days a year which is part of your working hours. I think that’s such a great initiative for people who are working full time or like me are juggling work and family life.

What I do with my TimeBank volunteering days:

I used some of my volunteering days to give back to my daughter’s school. I knew that with my background in safeguarding and domestic violence I could use my skills to benefit the school. I delivered two training sessions for 40 teachers at the school on domestic violence and honour-based abuse including female genital mutilation.

I enjoy working with the school and I now volunteer there once a week on Mondays. I spend most of the mornings supporting the Pastoral Manager with parents who have housing, immigration and domestic violence needs. In the afternoons I am privileged to be able to work with under-achieving children. I assist pupils that are struggling with their reading and support the classroom teacher with managing the class.

What have I gained from volunteering:

Volunteering provides people with a range of benefits such as:

  • Connecting with others and making new friends
  • It’s good for your mind and body
  • Improving confidence
  • Gaining new skills and opportunities

I’ve learned so much from my short time of volunteering at a school. I have found a level of respect for teachers and the pressures they face from Ofsted. I’ve also got a more in-depth insight into how much more schools are taking on when it comes to providing support for families.

I’ve also been able to shadow and learn from senior teachers who have been in the education sector for decades. I found that volunteering has given me the confidence to put myself forward as a School Governor which has led to me becoming the Parent Governor at the school where I volunteer.

Needless to say, I’m enjoying my volunteering experience thus far. However, some people still ask me why I use one of my days off to volunteer. They ask what I’m getting out of it.

I just simply go through the list above with them. It’s always great to get people thinking about volunteering and talking about it is a great way to promote it.

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