Why do people become volunteers?
Being a volunteer should be rewarding and enjoyable. It is a great way to be involved in a community or cause which matters to you. Volunteers come from all walks of life and being a volunteer can help you meet new people, change your community for the better, assist you with learning new skills or use your existing skills in a new context.
You may get involved because it is a cause or an issue you are passionate about, or it may be that your life has been touched by the work of the voluntary organisation. You may want to build your CV, have experience of strategy and management, or find out more about the not-for-profit sector before making a career change.
Being a volunteer can open you to new experiences and new groups of people. It can present you with new challenges, constructive and exciting ones as well as some more difficult things to overcome. You are part of a team as a volunteer and will have the opportunity to add your unique skills and experience while learning from others too.
At its heart, being a volunteer puts you at the centre of the action for the organisation with which you are involved. The more effective the board of volunteers, the greater difference you and your organisation will make.
Being a volunteer
“I have been a member of the Trust for about 28 years, and there are lots of reasons why I continue to work with the Trust.
There are many instances when I have observed first hand the sheer pleasure experienced by our clients when visiting the boats.
Occasionally I accompany some of our clients on their trips, and last year I was touched and humbled when one lady, from an old persons home, was in tears because she had got the date wrong, and was upset because she had wanted to get her hair done before coming on the trip. Naturally I told her sincerely that she looked beautiful as she was. It demonstrated to me that a simple trip on one of our boats was a very special day for her!”
– Rozanne Corfield
“As a volunteer, I enjoy the hands on maintenance of the boats. As a qualified skipper, I love taking the boats out. One weekend, I was moored in the locks when I noticed a gentleman in a wheelchair observing my progress. I called to him inviting him for a trip. He replied sadly that, because of his disability, he would be unable to access the boat. How delighted he was when I was able to accommodate him, owing to our specially adapted boat. He took two trips enjoying every minute! Magic!”
– David Corfield
“I designed and built my own boat four years ago now. I thought the canal in Welshpool was out of use, as it was not connected to the main system. As we backed down the slipway the local press was there to get the story. Who told them we were coming? I still haven’t found out. Within half an hour of being in the water a man called Pat Ward came along and conscripted us to be volunteers on the weekly canal maintenance party. This led on to crewing on the Heulwen boats, with me getting some much needed boat handling skills and sound advice from the helmsman, while my wife Lorraine assisted in making teas and keeping the passengers happy on the public cruises.
We are away on our own boat for at least three months in the summer, but when we are back home we love to be able to help out when we can. If we lived in Welshpool, I’m sure we would be there around the canal all the time, even if I were sailing along in my own wood and canvas canoe I made some time ago.
We are amazed that so many people from the younger generation have very little knowledge of how and why the canals are there. We love talking to them on this topic and try to encourage locals to get involved themselves in activities on and along the canal.”
– David & Lorraine Seymour