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 hear from Alastair, who reflects on the many benefits he’s gained from volunteering and why he encourages other to sign up.

“My volunteer journey started last September. I wanted to volunteer for a charity for some time but had never bitten the bullet and done so, partly due to lack of confidence and party due to lack of time. As a lifelong Arsenal fan I had heard of Willow and knew Bob Wilson had a charity, so I decided to sign up as a volunteer. Since then I have volunteered at numerous events for Willow and in January became a Willow Champion. Originally I thought I would get a cape and some sort of gold title belt but this was not the case! 

"My first main event for Willow was the annual Willow Ball last year. Initially I was nervous, but I helped greet guests at the front door and I loved it. I also helped sell raffle tickets, assisted with an auction and everyone at Willow was so welcoming. I knew I wanted to help more. From that moment, I have seized opportunities to help out as much as I can. 

"In January this year I stood up in front of a group of about 25 volunteers and did a short talk on my volunteering experience. I had NEVER talked in front of anybody, let alone on a stage and the feeling of pride I felt when it went well was immense. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I agreed to do a presentation to Stopsley Striders Running Club. I believed it would be to 40-50 people but ended up being to 75-80. However it went really well and I now feel comfortable talking about Willow to pretty much anybody.

"It is not just my self-confidence which has improved though. I have met so many different people, of different backgrounds, who have been united in having to battle illness themselves or for a loved one. It has made me realise that life really is precious, can be short and made me appreciate what I have more. You also get to meet some amazing an inspirational people and I have made lots of great friends.

"I hope you enjoyed my blog – this is another ‘first’ Willow has given me.

"If you have ever thought about volunteering then please give it a go. Volunteering for Willow would mean joining a family dedicated to bringing joy to those who are going through hard times. You will not regret it."

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.


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