I used to think that volunteering was something that retired people did in charity shops, hospices and hospitals and then the Glasgow Commonwealth Games came along and totally changed my perception – turns out you can volunteer for one-off events too and pretty much at any age.
My first volunteering role was at the Games and the reason I applied to be a clyde-sider was that I’ve worked in Glasgow for over 20 years and have organised a number of international conferences and, working as an Ambassador with the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, I have become very passionate about how great this city is and wanted to help deliver an excellent Games for the millions of people that would be visiting.
I was appointed to a Spectator Services role at the SECC precinct and during the training and the Games themselves not only worked with the most fantastic people – many of who have become friends – but met an incredibly diverse range of visitors and spectators.
It was quite simply the most rewarding experience EVER and through sharing my experiences on social media I was nominated for a sportscotland Coaching, Officiating & Volunteering Award 2014. I didn’t win but when you’re up against Clyde the mascot that’s some tough competition.
During the Games I heard that the World Gymnastics Championships would be taking place in Glasgow in 2015 at the SSE Hydro – one of the venues and sports that I had worked at – and they would need volunteers so citing my experience I applied and have been accepted.
I have also volunteered at the Glasgow Kiltwalk and Race for Life and will continue both those roles in the future – they take little time commitment but provide much needed support to the participants that are taking part.
My employer has been terrific in supporting me – giving me matched time off to volunteer at the Games and now allowing me to be a volunteer mentor for the MCR Pathways Programme where I will be working 1:1 with a secondary school pupil from a care background helping guide them to education, employment and fulfilling lives. This is a longer term commitment which I’ll be involved in for at least one year, possibly two.
I also joined Vamos 2014 which is a Facebook group set up at the time of the Games which helps promote events that require volunteers. It is a terrific way of keeping up to date with events not just in Glasgow but further afield.
It’s taken me a long time to finally find out what I want to do when I grow up but now that I’ve discovered volunteering there’s no stopping me. So go on give volunteering a go – whether it’s a one off event or an hour a week for two years you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.