Volunteer Stories

Meet Gillian

Gillian’s journey started a while ago. She has been involved in a range of volunteer roles throughout the years. From volunteering at Age UK in 1993, to volunteering in chaplaincy, admin, reception, then onto currently volunteering with Dr Kershaw’s Charity shop

The reason Gillian volunteers is to support her local community and give something back. Her late mum had helping hands support from Dr Kershaw’s Hospice and volunteering was a great way to support a local charity close to her heart.

Gillian says: “Volunteer and go for it! What have you got to lose? Theres only things you can gain! See it (the volunteer role). Say it (I’ll go for it) and Show it (I’m volunteering!)”.

Here's Gillians Volunteer intereview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvLZKj_5-SA 

Volunteers Izzie, Alishia, Elvis and Connor supported the Barry Kilby Prostate Cancer Appeal at Oldham Athletic football ground, raising awareness and collecting donations. 

Barry is Vice Chairman of Premier League Club Burnley FC. Living with advanced Prostate Cancer. His Appeal supports local initiatives to beat Prostate Cancer. Helping to save local men's lives.

They carry out PSA Blood Testing events at local sports grounds. There are no national screening events for prostate cancer and this is why their services are so important. Men don’t always go to their doctor, but they’ll visit a football ground, and that’s why they base their events in these locations.

On this occasion a whopping £194.50 was raised just one hour before the football match started. The volunteers were given complimentary free tickets to watch the Oldham Athletic game vs Grimsby Town after the finished volunteering as a thanks.  

Simon Quinn

Simon volunteers with Ashton United in the Community and the Grafton Centre.

Simon came to visit the volunteer centre with his support worker, Kate. He wanted to volunteer because he was fed up of being stuck at home. He wanted to get out, meet new people and make some new friends. He was especially interested in doing some volunteering that would involve helping people in his community.

“Volunteering makes me feel happier inside.”

Ashton United in the Community
Match Day Steward

“Ashton United made me feel really welcome”

Simon is a Match Day Steward. His role involves giving directions to the football fans and looking out for people, ensuring they are kept safe. He also helps take care of the football grounds doing things such as litter picking. Simon has taken part in several fundraising events too, including Hurst Fest.

 “I have made some really good friends. The Ashton United volunteer team is like a little family. We have a great laugh together.”

As a volunteer Simon has been provided with a special football uniform. He has also been able to undertake First Aid Training.

The Grafton Centre

Simon chose to volunteer at the Grafton Centre because he wanted to work with older people. He particularly enjoys helping the older people that work in the kitchen. He helps people that are struggling with certain tasks.

His role also involves gardening. Simon helps to take care of the Grafton Centre garden using the leaf blower and planting flowers.

He has helped at a number of Grafton Centre events too. One of his favourites was a fundraising day where he got to meet and have his photograph taken with the Mayor of Tameside

Simon has been provided with a very special t-shirt with his name on it that was made especially made for him, a valued volunteer.

“Volunteering is good for you! There are lots of opportunities to choose from.”

Mahmuda Khatun

Mahmuda volunteers at the Dr Kershaw's Charity Shop in Chadderton as a Shop Assistant and a Stockroom Assistant.

“Volunteering has helped me to develop my skills and to become work ready”

She volunteers one day a week sorting through donations, steaming and labelling clothes, as well as pricing items ready to be displayed on the shop floor.

Mahmuda feels that volunteering has helped her to feel more confident and assertive. 

Mahmuda says “Go for volunteering you will enjoy it, you will gain experience, work as a team and you will use your own initiative without realising it! Volunteer to learn something different and fill your spare time”

To take a look at Dr Kershaw Hospice's volunteer opportunities click here.

Trustees' Week 2018

Andrea, David and Patricia are all Action Together employees but thats not the only thing they have in common. They all volunteer as Trustees for charities that support causes they care about.

In honour of Trustees' Week 2018 we have created video case studies of all three discussing why they chose to become a Trustee and what they gain from the experience. They all have particular interests, experiences, skills, knowledge that they use for the benefit of their chosen organisations. 

Andrea Worsley. Trustee, Gift of a Wedding
"I’m honoured to be a trustee of Gift of a Wedding, not just because I’m a former recipient, I believe in it, I believe that what we are doing is making a difference to people’s lives, we fulfil dreams and create memories."
To watch Andrea's video click here.

David Sharples, Trustee, People First Tameside
"Being a Trustee makes me feel like a better person, I enjoy doing it, I enjoy working with the people. I am really passionate about what People First Tameside do and I hope that I am able to support that organisation through the work that I do with my employer, Action Together and I hope that we continue to support that work, develop facilities and the people with learning disabilities living in Tameside."
To watch David's video click here.

Patricia Morris, Trustee, Manchester Craft and Design Centre
I had known about Manchester Craft and Design Centre for quite a while and always though that It was a great building in the Northern Quarter, I always thought it was a great and inspiring place. When I was given the opportunity to become a trustee I jumped at it because it was also a way that I could improve my CV. As a trustee I am a member of the main charity board, I am also the chair of the finance committee. In the past I’ve been on the fundraising committee and I am also a member of a board from a trading company. My commitment for all that is probably one evening a month with a bit of reading.”
To watch Patricia's video click here.

Linda Robinson

Healthwatch Champion with Healthwatch Oldham

Healthwatch Champions represent Healthwatch Oldham at local meetings and forums and support the team to engage with the public and to promote and publicise the service.They gather views and opinions from local people and feed back to the Healthwatch Oldham team.

The Healthwatch Champion volunteer role appealed to Linda because she has a background in health and social care having worked for Oldham Council for many years. She wanted to use her skills and experience to benefit others in a voluntary capacity.

 “The Healthwatch Oldham team are fantastic. They have really welcomed me and encouraged me to link my existing skills to the Healthwatch Champion role.”

 Linda has volunteered at a number of local events including the community open day at the Salvation Army Community Centre and the Healthwatch Oldham Forum in Alexandra Park.

Kami Mistry
Volunteer Centre Oldham and Tameside - Volunteer Photographer

Kami came to Volunteer Centre Tameside looking to gain some practical experience using her photography skills. She wanted an opportunity where she could develop her existing skills as well as learn some new techniques. Photography has always been one of her hobbies, one that she would love to turn into a career in the future.

“I’ve been given the opportunity to photograph a range of different subjects and build my portfolio. With photography it’s all about trial and error. The perfect photo comes with practice. Volunteering is helping me to get that experience”.

Kami’s role involves visiting voluntary organisations in both Oldham and Tameside and taking photographs that illustrate the variety of volunteer roles available and the impact that volunteers have in their communities. She has been photographing volunteers while they are actively carrying out their roles. These photographs are then used by Volunteer Centre Oldham and Tameside team for volunteer case studies, eBulletins, social media, the Action Together website, newsletters and general promotion.

“I have enjoyed visiting all of the organisations, travelling around Oldham and Tameside and seeing their volunteers in action.”

Kami feels that volunteering has improved her confidence and seeing her photos being used has been a huge boost for her.

“Volunteering has given me the confidence to be able to speak to new people. I have met some fantastic people. I went to Age UK Tameside recently to photograph the centre and the volunteers. I got involved with some of the activities while I was there, we had a great laugh.”

Andualem Bedada

Andualem decided to volunteer because he wanted to fill his time, get out of the house and feel part of his new community. He attended an appointment with Action Together to discuss volunteering where he received guidence and advice. He then completed an pre volunteering introduction training course with Action Together, after this he had a better understanding of volunteering, more knowledge about it and what exactly is involved.

 Andualem found out about the community hub in Alexandra park and decided to apply to volunteer. He volunteers two days a week, Monday and Wednesday where he gets involved in lots of activities and completes lots of fun tasks, he has got involved in the cooking sessions, he prepares for the fresh produce by planting fresh seeds and herbs, he regulary waters, diggs, takes out weeds and havests.  

 Volunteering has helped him feel healthier physically and mentally. He has learnt lots of new skills about growing his own fresh fruit and vegetables (which he is going to do at home) this is a great way to have great food and save money! He has made lots of new friends, volunteering it has given him the confidence to feel comfortable around new people. He is excited to volunteer and feels very proud of himself for making the choice.

 “Visiting Action Together has given me a great first step to know more about volunteering and what I can do, I would recommend a visit. I am also looking into another volunteer role at the moment. If I feel I have more time, I’m going back to Action Together to find another!”

James Ferguson

Volunteers with Tameside Scouts

James volunteers with 3rd Ashton Scouts. He was sworn in as a Assistant Scout Leader during their AGM. James has volunteered with the Scouts in the past. He enjoyed it so much, that when the opportunity to arose to volunteer he chose to return. 

James also helps out in Ashton town centre at the permanent Scouts display sharing information with the public on the Scouts and their volunteer opportunities

To find out more about Tameside Scouts and their volunteer opportunities click here.

Toyibat Ganiyu

Toyibat Ganiyu is a community star!

I believe I’m getting more out of volunteering than I’m giving

Toyibat started volunteering with the Primrose Centre (Great Places) in October 2017, she found the role through Action Together, she met with an advisor where she received clear knowledge and information about volunteering.
Toyibat said:

It gave me an understanding of what I could do as a volunteer, my first visit was very relaxed, I felt that it was a very welcoming and friendly organisation

Toyibat decided to volunteer because she was struggling with her mental health. She wanted to get out of the house, make the best use of her time, learn something new and most of all, share her skills. 

Toyibat feels that volunteering has had a huge impact on her life as it has helped her overcome some of her mental health issues. Volunteering has improved her social life, helped her interact with others better and has helped her feel much more confident. 

Toyibat volunteers two days a week at The Primrose Centre. One day she does administration that involves general duties such as filing, photocopying and making phone calls. Her second role involves teaching people how to make jewellery during the Knit and Natter group. In return for sharing her skills the members of the group are teaching Toyibat how how to knit, all while they all have a good natter! 

Community Star Awarded to Toyibat! 

Toyibat has been awarded a ‘Special Recognition Award’ at Great Places Community Stars Awards.

Toyibat was recently nominated for a Community Stars Award by Great Places for her commitment and contibution to volunteering.

Alishia accompanied Toyibat to the Community Stars Awards at Gorton Monastry. The event proved to be very glamourous with a red carpet welcome, drinks, photographs, located seating and afternoon tea.

Toyibat has been awarded a Special Recognition Award for her independence, contribution and commitment to her volunteer role.

She runs a jewellery making group at the Primrose Centre in Oldham and supports people who want to share or learn new skills. Toyibat is so grateful to receive this special recognition, she feels so happy and proud of her achievement. She encourages people to volunteer because you never know what will happen!

Megan Sykes 

Volunteers with Future Directions Oldham

Megan’s volunteering journey first started when she had a lot of time available, she wanted to keep herself busy and get out of the house. Megan attended an appointment at the volunteer centre to discuss volunteering and what she could do to help her. At the end of the appointment Megan left very positive, she booked on to attend the pre volunteer course to learn more about volunteering and received support to identify a suitable role with Future Directions. Future Directions are a social care provider who support individuals in the community and look for volunteers to support in a variety of volunteer roles.

Megan volunteers 3 days a week for 2 hours a day. She loves her volunteer role, its flexible around her time and is currently doing two different volunteer roles. One day is in the office supporting administration and the other two days she visits members of future directions to do activities such as, baking, painting nails and befriending. Megan has lots fun and enjoys every second of her time as a volunteer. Volunteering has helped Megan improve her confidence, kept her busy, increased her employability and she says:

Its been a great change in my life.

Megan says:

Volunteering for future directions has made me feel great. I am a valued member of the team and I receive great support and training. I’ve met lots of new people. I would really recommend speaking to Action Together to find out what volunteer roles are available, they really helped me get started. You never know what you will find that makes you feel so good! I love my volunteer role, I’m learning and sharing lots of skills whilst having fun.

Jenny Neville, Project Manager of Future Directions:

I spoke to Megan today and she said that she’s really enjoying volunteering, it’s great to  have her on the team.

Keelie Maher

Volunteers with Helping Hand Charity Shop, Hyde

Keelie volunteers at the Helping Hand Charity Shop in Hyde. She helps in the stockroom, sorting through the donations that the shop receives.

 I really like organising all the CDs and DVDs.

Keelie has been a volunteer for many years and she has helped out at a few different charity shops during that time. She enjoys being part of a team and likes being responsible for sorting through the CDs and the DVDS.

Keelie also attends Ashton 6th Form College where she is doing a number of different course. She likes to spend her time productively and volunteering helps her to get out of the house and keep herself busy. It also helps her to socialise with people and it’s given her confidence a huge boost.

Jonathan Clutterback

Volunteers with Tameside Hospital

Volunteering helps keep me fit and healthy

Jonathan is a Tameside Hospital Volunteer. His role involves collecting the wheel chairs from around the hospital. 

Jonathan is one of Tameside's many volunteer success stories. He has experienced some serious health issues in the past and has also struggle with his weight. Jonathan had to undergo major surgery and following this he went on to lose an astounding 10 stones in only 12 months. It was because of this and the fantastic changes that he made to his lifestyle that he was awarded a Pride of Tameside Award in 2017. 

One of the changes that Jonathan made was becoming a volunteer. Jonathan says that volunteering at the hospital helps him stay fit and healthy because he spends so much time walking around the hospital.

If you're interested in volunteering at Tameside Hospital you can take a look at their volunteer roles by clicking here.

Phillip Nokes

Volunteering with Miles of Smiles, Action Together

Phillip has been volunteering with Miles of Smiles since 2016.

Phillip had been visiting an elderly family friend for quite some time and while he was spending time with her he had noted the difference his visits were making. She was very isolated, she didn’t get out of the house very much and she wasn’t seeing that many people on a day to day basis. Phil recognised all of these things and decided to befriend her. His weekly visits to see her and have a chat were really beneficial and

I realized that there must be lots of isolated, lonely people out there that would benefit from befriending. I went to the Volunteer Centre Tameside to see what opportunites there were availiable where I could help people.

It was while Phillip was spending time with this lady that he made the decision to visit the volunteer centre and ask if there were more people out there that he could help.

I enjoy being able to help people and all of the passengers are really appreciative. There are so many people that Miles of Smiles helps that would struggle if the service wasn’t available”. Miles of Smiles “If you want help people and give a something back to your community then Miles of Smiles volunteer driving is a great opportunity. You’ll enjoy it and you’ll get the feel good factor too!

If you're interested in becoming a Miles of Smiles volunteer driver or if you would like some more information call Lisa Hannibal on 0161 339 2345 or email lisa.hannibal@actiontogether.org.uk
You can also find out more by clicking here.