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How I use my Volunteer Days 

To celebrate International Volunteers Day 2020, we hear from Erica, Senior Engagement Manager at The Careers & Enterprise Company about what she uses her volunteer days doing.

Saturday 5th December marks International Volunteers Day 2020. It gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact volunteering has on our local communities. It also encourages volunteers and volunteer organisations to tell their stories, share values and celebrate efforts – which is needed more than ever this year. 

The theme this year is for Economic and Social Development 2020, and I want to share with you how I use my time to volunteer, and the benefit of doing so.

I am Vice Chair of Governors at The Oaks Primary school. I love my role, but I did not go looking for it. Jeremy Pentreath, Headteacher at The Oaks has so much enthusiasm and passion that when I met him and he asked if I would like to join the Governing Body, the word ‘yes’ just rolled off my tongue. 

Passion

Passion is the key to success when it comes to volunteering and at The Oaks and I often find that I am surrounded by it.  My passion lies in ensuring all young people have the best opportunities made available to them, and for understanding primary schools - particularly as I have two children aged 5 and 8. I see the enormous amount of passion from the SLT and teaching staff at The Oaks, who focus on all the children leaving with the best chances in life - young people who are mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds . 

My role of Governor really fits with my work at The Careers & Enterprise Company, where we are given a generous 5 days a year to volunteer. The days allow me to fit in my Governing Body meetings but also my termly meetings with staff, children, and parents.

Volunteering gives me so much; it has given me a much greater understanding of how a school is run. It has developed my skills in becoming a critical friend, asking the right questions, providing challenge and supported me in my role as Vice Chair to develop the Governing Body.

Supporting all young people

In my recent meetings with SLT and the leads for curriculum and oracy, I have been blown away by the continued drive for improvement. Despite all the challenges presented by Covid-19, staff have continued to ensure that their teaching practice develops and that young people, who may not access wider learning opportunities at home, are not missing out. 

Volunteering my time and using my skills to support my local community makes me feel good. It’s often the highlight of my month, it gives me back just as much as I give it. I feel lucky to be able to witness the great work that goes on at The Oaks and will continue to support for as long as I am needed.

The act of volunteering gives people joy and a sense of achievement. When you volunteer your time or skills, you are helping help make the world a better place. It can also gain a greater sense of belonging to your community. There are so many different ways and types of volunteering you can get involved in from environmental, health and social care, crisis and poverty, education and learning, or with animals.

If you want to volunteer your time, visit ‘Do It’: https://doit.life/ours