I have cerebral palsy and am a wheelchair user. I felt very isolated as I had no social outlet. I was invited to a presentation evening with Volunteering Matters and started talking to Mandy, of the SAFE project, about doing some volunteering for the project with her; as I wanted to do something for myself and help others.
I have a particular interest in working with those with Autism Spectrum Disorder as I have a nephew who is on the spectrum. When Mandy told me she would be starting a group with girls from the Integrated Autism Service in Pontypool, I was very keen but felt there might be a financial impact as I would have to get an accessible taxi from my home in Cwmbran. However, Mandy assured me that Volunteering Matters would cover the travel expenses – and that the venue would have disability access.
We did some training in relation to my working with those with autism, and I helped carry out research, and designed and developed the materials we would be using.
I am now co facilitating the group and love it! I am helping others receive important messages and love seeing them gaining confidence week by week. The group is like a social event and I also do some 1:1 with one of the young women who finds it more difficult to keep focused in the workshop.
Volunteering has helped me a lot; I feel pretty good about myself and I have also learned a lot from the workshops. I am keen to learn more and help out at further workshops in the future. We did some training in relation to my working with those with autism, and I helped carry out research, and designed and developed the materials we would be using.