After 3 years of retirement it was clear my self-worth was suffering badly. Having worked in a very profit conscious industry I decided to volunteer to support those in less fortunate circumstances.  You could say it was a bit of give and take, my time in exchange for getting back some self-fulfilment.

So last November I was fortunate to start as an adviser working out of the Chelmsley Wood office 2 days a week, although that all changed in March and I now volunteer in a converted bedroom!

I’ve since helped hundreds of clients who have almost all said thank you, which makes me realise how much the service is needed and valued. Things that stick in my mind are:

  • Shielding – our support calls to shielding clients, invariably the older generation often stuck on their own with no contact and unable to get out. They really appreciated the offers of support. And humbling was the mental attitude and approach many showed to their situation which was a lesson to me about resilience.
  • Redundancy – the reassurance and advice given to those without union support facing redundancy for the first time 
  • Sadly an increase in cases involving parental disagreements over children – unfortunately there is never an entirely happy outcome. But the positive is through our advice we can help prevent escalation to reduce the risk of further impact on the children

This is now my first year up – so how has it been? Clichéd but true – rewarding!

Paul Blackman

volunteer group

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