From Volunteer to Special Days Director
As part of National Volunteers Week 2017, we’re highlighting some of the many different examples of volunteering here at Willow. For our latest blog post we sat down with our very own Mark Rappitt, who started as a volunteer before eventually becoming Special Days Director.
“I first started in 2011 as a volunteer, having heard about Willow by listening to (Co-Founder and Life President) Bob Wilson on TalkSport Radio.
"Initially I came into the office one day a week and helped out with whatever jobs were needed, such as stuffing envelopes or data entry. After a year I accepted an opportunity to look after the office IT and then some time later I was successful in applying to lead the Special Days team.
"Volunteering is a really enjoyable thing to do and really does make a difference. I love it when I volunteer as I get to meet so many people. More importantly whenever we have a volunteer helping to do something, it means more money and resources can be dedicated to creating Special Days. Even if it’s someone who volunteers for half a day – whether in the office, one of our shops or an event - it enables us to focus our resources elsewhere.
"I really like the immediate impact of what we do in with Special Days. Very quickly we can say ‘yes, we’re going to do something for you’ and make a really quick impression. I love the variety of the role and I like the fact that we never know what we’ll be doing any single day of the week.
"A standout Special Day I remember was for a young man who was really struggling with his treatment. He was quite quiet, but he absolutely loved Land Rovers, so we organised a private tour of the Land Rover factory in Birmingham where he got to do some driving too. His medical professional came back to us afterwards and said they’d never heard him talk so much and he’d really come out of himself, which made us feel special.”
Willow aims to create 1,400 Special Days for seriously ill young adults in 2017. Any time you can spare to volunteer will help us reach that target. For more information about volunteering at Willow, please click here.