Volunteers’ Week 2023: Angie’s Story

4 June 2023

Minstead Trust is a charity based in New Forest and Portsmouth that provides training for adults with learning disabilities to enable them to develop new skills, lead fulfilled lives and achieve greater independence.

At the start of the year, Angie was looking for a volunteering opportunity for something to do in her spare time, eventually coming across being a Tea Room Volunteer at the Furzey Gardens. This Minstead Trust opportunity required a volunteer to provide a wonderfully warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors of the garden. She had this to say about her experience:

Why did you decide you wanted to volunteer?

“I wanted to volunteer as I have a bit more spare time on my hands now the Covid vaccinations have eased off as I was acting as a steward at various destinations before then.”

“I knew roughly what sort of thing I wanted to do.  Not too much responsibility or commitment needed and to be able to help on an ad-hoc basis.  Also, not too much traveling now fuel is so expensive.  In this respect there was a limited choice.”

Were there any difficulties or barriers to finding a volunteer role? Was it easy to apply, what did you have to do?

“There were no difficulties in finding a volunteer role. It was very easy to apply.  Once contact was made and an application form was sent, this was completed with a brief history of what sort of work I had done before, what sort of work I was looking for and why I would be suitable for what they needed.  References were taken up, a DBS Check completed, and away you go!”

What have been the best bits about volunteering so far?

“I feel I am doing something worthwhile and the groups I am working with are so appreciative of the time I am giving them.  Even though it is only a few hours here and there.”

What advice would you give other people who think they may want to volunteer?

“Just do it.  If it doesn’t work out, at least you have tried.  Even if the first one is not suitable, try again as word of mouth might lead to better opportunities.  You don’t want to die wondering -what if??”

Was it helpful to you using the Volunteer Service/the Volunteer First website and would you recommend them to others?

“The Volunteer Service/the Volunteer First website was excellent. Easy to understand and scroll through the various opportunities, both locally and nationwide, working from home or out and about.”

*Finally, although I am enjoying the work at Furzley Tea Rooms, I think the assistance they will need will ease off over the autumn and winter.  I will still endeavor to help them whenever needed, but I would still like to pursue the driving job from MHA as I enjoy driving and it means I am sitting down for a while and in the warm!! (It seems the wrong thing to say at the moment).”

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