Volunteer of the Month: June

We love this time of the month: when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the quite literally life changing work that they do to help YCC run smoothly and effectively.

This month we are giving a very special THANK YOU to Luke Russell, who has been volunteering for YCC for a year and a half so far, as a telephone befriender.

We caught up with Luke to find out a little more about his volunteering journey.

  1. Name:  Luke Russell.
  2. Tell us a little about yourself? I live in Huddersfield and work for a manufacturing company in nearby Meltham. I spend most of my time on my main interests which are cooking (& eating!), reading, and attending live music events. 
  3. How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Just over 18 months. 
  4. Please explain your volunteering role in a nutshell: As a telephone befriender, I make weekly phone calls to some elderly individuals in the local community. After the first few calls of getting to know one another, these typically become nice informal chats to talk about anything which has been going on for them and myself recently, and anything else which might have been on their mind. 
  5. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I’d been wanting to take up a volunteering role for some time, but had struggled to commit myself to an opportunity. During the 2020 Covid lockdowns and the growing awareness of community loneliness, which was particularly acute in some groups including the elderly, I saw this role advertised in an email and felt I couldn’t help but commit some time to helping in any way.  
  6. Sum up a typical day of volunteering for you? The befriending role is great for someone like myself who works weekday office hours as I can easily fit the time into the sociable hours I have after finishing work. Typically, I’ll try to call straight after finishing my job for the benefit of my friends, and just have a natural conversation with them about what’s happened in the last week, and anything which they want to talk about from their lives – I planned my holiday in Scotland last summer around trips one of my contacts used to make and often tells me about – he has such fond memories of Arran we had to check it out! I’ll make the odd note during the call, and then once we’ve finished our conversation, update the volunteering app with the call details. 
  7. And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? The main thing is making sure you’re honest with yourself about what you can fit in and find an opportunity accordingly. The Telephone Befriending role really suits me with the time I am able to commit with work and other commitments, and building relationships overtime is very rewarding as someone who enjoys bouncing off people.  

If you feel inspired to become a telephone volunteer like Luke, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact Lucy on 01484 519988 or email [email protected]

Volunteer of the Month: May

Beata is a qualified social worker, who – after moving to the UK from Poland – chose to volunteer with YCC’s Child Contact Services to get back into the social and education sectors, and to improve her English language skills.

We caught up with Beata in May, who told us a little more about herself, and her experience volunteering with YCC.

  1. Name: Beata Walkowicz
  2. Tell us a little about yourself: My name Beata. I’m 52 and I come from Poland. In my free time I read books and meet with my friends. My friends say I’m creative, funny, outgoing and curious about everything. My greatest joy is helping other people.
  3. Explain your volunteering role: Through my social work I have experience working with families who are experiencing problems and going through difficult times. I gained a lot of insight and understanding of all the various types of problems that families can experience, for example substance misuse, illness in the family or financial problems. I understand the stress that can put on people and families, and how much of a positive impact that services such as the Children’s Centre can have on families and children.
  4. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I like to volunteer to put my existing skills into practice as I am passionate about helping vulnerable people and those in need. It is my dream to get back to working in a role like this, and I see volunteering as the first step on my journey to achieving this. Also a key thing that I want to do in my volunteering is to improve my language skills by exposing myself to a different environment to my current workplace. I chose to apply to YCC because I love working with children. I am really interested in the type of support and services that the Children’s Centre provides and the families that they support. When I lived in my family home I also spent a lot of time looking after my niece and nephews and since moving to the UK that is something I have been missing as well.
  5. What advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy.

THANK YOU BEATA – SO MUCH – FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE FOR YCC!

YCC’s Child Contact Centre is currently recruiting for more volunteers to help us deliver our services across the community. To learn more about the role, please check out our available volunteer positions on our website, or contact our Volunteer Development Officer directly on 07849 398829/01484 415465/ [email protected]

Volunteer of the Month: April

Laura is a truly special volunteer and very worthy of April’s Volunteer of the Month award, since she not only befriends one person, but several! In this month’s post, Laura tells us how volunteering benefits in different ways…

  1. Name: Laura Cumiskey 
  2. Tell us a little about yourself: I am a stay home mum (two children aged 8 & 4). I seem to be the one person friends and family come to for advice and help. 
  3. How long have you been volunteering for the charity? I have been volunteering for roughly 18 months or so for the befriending service. 
  4. Explain your volunteering role: My role includes phoning old and vulnerable residents for YCC. I have certainly made some good friendships while doing this role. 
  5. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I started volunteering after I broke up with my daughter’s dad. I was in a bad place and lost myself as a person. I wanted to turn my negative perspective into a positive one. And as much as it helped me, I also knew I was helping someone else at the same time.
  6. Sum up a typical day of volunteering for you? I usually do my phone calls in a morning after I have dropped my children off at school. I sit down with a cup of tea and usually make my first call around 10am (or whatever time suits me best). 
  7. And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? The advice I would give to someone thinking about volunteering is, “DO IT!!!”. It benefits in more ways than one!

If you would like to become a telephone or face-to-face befriender, or volunteer your time in any other way for our charity, please feel free to check out our available volunteer positions on our website, or contact our Volunteer Development Officer, Lucy Martin, directly on 07849 398829/01484 415465

Volunteer of the Month: March

We love recognising our volunteers! This month, our volunteer of the month was nominated by YCC’s Thriving Kirklees team. Gareth started volunteering for the team when he heard they needed a helping hand with their admin. Gareth jumped to the rescue and donated dozens of hours to facilitate the delivery of Safety Rangers! THANK YOU GARETH!!

See what Gareth had to say when we interviewed him, below:

Name: Gareth Morris

Tell us a little about yourself? I found out about volunteering whilst on the Hopeful Families service and put myself forward as a volunteer, to feel useful.

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Around 6 months.

Explain your volunteering role: When the TK team do their Safety Rangers event, they have around 300 gift bags to hand to the children that attend. I organised each and every gift bag to make sure every single child would receive one during the event.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I wanted to build my confidence with others, feel useful and have something positive to do.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? If you’re looking for something do then why not volunteer? I was very happy after volunteering because it was really appreciated and made a big difference whilst saving a few hours out of the day for the staff members so they could do everything else they have to do.

If you would like to volunteer in our Charity Shop, or dedicate your time to another of our services, please contact Lucy, YCC’s Volunteering Development Officer, on 07849 398829 or email [email protected]

Volunteer of the Month: February

It’s really important that we take the time to recognise our volunteers – as without them, the charity would not be able to help so many people across the community.

This month we are thanking Jason Scott, who has been supporting YCC’s charity shop, for over a decade! Here’s what Jason had to say about his time volunteering at Pass It On.

Name: Jason Scott.

Tell us a little about yourself? I am an avid Leeds United supporter and I also enjoy listening to music and watching DVDs. I enjoy all types of music and films including comedy, drama and thrillers.

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? I returned in December after Covid lockdowns etc., but prior to that I had volunteered for approximately 10 years.

Explain your volunteering role: I volunteer in the Pass It On shop in Heckmondwike 1 day each week.  I assist the team with the day to day running of the shop and help out in any way I can. I like to keep busy during my shift.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I started volunteering with Pass It On through an occupational therapist – she suggested that this might help with my social skills and build my confidence.

Sum up a typical day of volunteering for you? I make sure any beds which have been sold are dismantled ready for delivery that week. I then build up more donated beds to replace these for sale. I make sure all the DVDs are topped up and in age range order. I help to make the shop presentable by arranging the layout and vacuuming the shop floor.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? I would advise anyone wanting to volunteer with YCC to give it a go, as they are a great bunch of people and you can work in a friendly atmosphere and  learn new skills in different roles available.

If you would like to volunteer in our Charity Shop, or dedicate your time to another of our services, please contact Lucy, YCC’s Volunteering Development Officer, on 07849 398829 or email [email protected]

Volunteer of the Month – January

It’s really important that we take the time to recognise our volunteers – as without them, the charity would not be able to help so many people across the community.

Each month we recognise a YCC Volunteer that has gone above and beyond in their role. Kicking off 2022, is Tracey Twizell, who volunteers as a face-to-face befriender. We caught up with Tracy earlier this month and asked her a few questions…

Name: Tracey Twizell

Tell us a little about yourself? I am 58 years old and was lucky enough to retire from working four years ago, along with my husband Michael.

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? I have been volunteering now for three years.

Explain your volunteering role: My role as a volunteer is to try and visit my befriender once a week, plus a cosy telephone chat one or twice a week. I have also done shopping on occasion for her, and if I have been baking, I will take some cake or home-made soup to my befriender.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? When I first retired, I found I had a lot of time on my hands and I knew I wanted to help someone, although at the time I didn’t know how.

Sum up a typical day of volunteering for you? Initially I would visit my befriended every Wednesday afternoon pre-Covid. Then, we could only telephone which still worked for us, and now it’s a mix of both of these forms of keeping in touch.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? I would just like to say that I find the older generation have so much to offer, both in life experiences and humour. I find it so rewarding being in their company, and they should most definitely not be dismissed as the past generation. If anyone is considering volunteering, I would highly recommend it and I hope you are as lucky in your chosen befriended as I have been.

If you are considering becoming a face-to-face or telephone befriender, please contact Lucy, YCC’s Volunteering Development Officer, on 07849 398829 or [email protected]