Your name: Alex
Where you live: Milton Keynes
Your job: Senior manager for an environmental charity
Why did you choose to volunteer in general and for CBUK specifically?
I chose to volunteer because I know first hand how important volunteer time is to charities and how personally rewarding it can be. I chose CBUK because when I was 10 I had my first experience of bereavement when my father died. Unfortunately, at that time nearly 20 years ago, we weren’t able to access support. I found out about CBUK through friends and researched about what they did – I instantly thought the work they did was fantastic and through my own experience I could see how valuable it was.
What event/activities do you do?
I was so pleased to support the new Milton Keynes team as one of their first volunteers. After training and support from the local team, I helped out at a Family Support programme, where families with bereaved children come along to learn techniques to understand and cope with their grief, as well as having some fun with other children in a similar situation. I also help out at YPAG – a youth group where the young people lead projects using art and film to help others cope with their grief. I am now helping out on my second Family Support programme and have been given the important job of being in charge of parachute games!
Have you found the experience beneficial/enjoyable/rewarding? Why?
I have found the experience huge beneficial, enjoyable and rewarding in so many ways. Not only for me personally being able to support children with a similar experience to me but also being able to support a local charity. There are so many moments whilst I am volunteering where I have felt like I am really helping a child or young person to understand their emotions and find ways to remember their special person that has died – that feeling is so rewarding.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone and everyone – for a brief time each week or month, you can leave behind your job or other worries and focus on something and importantly someone else whilst at the same time knowing your time is making a difference. The sense of achievement and fulfillment is so great for lifting your mood and feeling part of a community.
What would you say to encourage others to volunteer with CBUK?
Child Bereavement UK is a fantastic charity and their Family Support volunteers are so important to make sure that children on the programme have lots of support. Likewise, the young people at YPAG are inspirational and it is great to play a part in helping them to help other young people who have experienced loss. CBUK made sure I had great training about bereavement and loss as well as support to talk through any worries or difficulties I had whilst volunteering. Most people would imagine that it would be a very sad and yes there are sad moments, but there is so much happiness and fun. Whether it is playing a game with a child to give them some time out from thinking about their loss or encouraging a child to talk about their memories of their special person. I feel lucky to be able to play a small part in helping children and young people.