“After a long career in the civil service, I decided to say goodbye to chilly London and moved to Spain to enjoy my retirement. Initially I enjoyed the wonderful climate, and getting to learn a new language and culture, but after six years I decided to return to where I grew up in south Wales.
On my return to Wales, I began searching online for opportunities to get involved with my local community. I found a reading in schools project, organised by Volunteering Matters project Learn Together Cymru, and began volunteering two mornings a week for a local primary school.
I really enjoyed listening to the children read aloud and helping them with their literacy skills. You can learn so much from 10-year-olds: seeing the world through young eyes and gaining a new perspective. I really believe that it’s never too late to learn new things, whatever age you are.
I found that working with a child on a regular basis, and giving them individual support, can really boost their reading ability and confidence. I love witnessing them making progress – it’s like watching them blossom before your eyes!
Rebekah and Teresa, two of the Learn Together Cymru project staff, asked me to get involved with running the project, as I have prior management experience. So I became a local organiser, helping with recruitment and volunteer support in the Swansea area.
I also represent the volunteers on the project steering group and represent the project on the Volunteering Matters Wales Volunteer Advisory Group. I find this work really fulfilling and enjoy working with the younger generation.
I enjoyed my career and was lucky enough to be rewarded with a good pension at the end of it, which enabled me to have a full and happy retirement. So it only seems right to give back a little of my time to volunteer in my local community. It gives me a great sense of self-worth and belonging – in fact I often think that I get back more than I give!”