Our volunteer from Liverpool had always no end of opportunities to exercise her altruistic spirit. So what prompted her to get involved with HHUGS?
“I’ve always been passionate about helping those around me: be it friends, family, a friend of a friend, any one really; if there was something I could do to help, I’d be there. It’s not a big deal; we all need a bit of help sometimes. Someone needs their CV looking at? No problem. Need a lift to the airport? That’s fine. An old lady living on her own, down the road? I’ll check in on her. All in all, I thought I was doing my bit and I felt pretty good about it. So what prompted me to volunteer for HHUGS?
“I always had a feeling there was a gap. People slipping through the cracks. Those we couldn’t see, those that couldn’t speak for themselves. Or maybe we could see them – but we chose not to look. Maybe we could hear them – but we chose not to listen. Was I one of those people? Someone who was looking away? Someone who was choosing not to listen? I thought I was doing my bit, so it was easy just to ignore the more difficult stuff. People going though situations that I couldn’t help with. And even if I wanted to help them, what could I do?
“I was online one day, browsing, well, nothing really, as you do and HHUGS popped into my head. So I typed in “HHUGS” and went on their website just to see what it was all about. I found a wealth of information about the work they do, the people they help and listened to the stories of those whose lives they’ve transformed. It was fascinating. The women, the children, the mothers. All authentic, all so grateful for the support they’ve received. More than what they were saying, you could see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to help.
“I filled out the volunteer form and waited hoping they’d get back to me telling me I had the skills they needed because I wanted to help so badly. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried because actually, anyone can help and everyone has something they can bring to the table. You don’t need qualifications or even experience to volunteer. What you need is empathy, the desire to help those around you and a caring attitude. That’s it. Everyone has the ability to make a difference. Whether it’s just a chat, picking up someone’s shopping, helping to fill out a form, volunteering at an event, befriending a family, or simply spreading the word, it’s all important.
“I helped out at one of their events recently. It was an afternoon tea at the beautiful Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford. It was such a joy to be there, that I didn’t even feel like I was volunteering. I met some lovely people, had some great conversations and got to hear some fantastic speakers. And then there was cake! So much cake! It was wonderful. I went home that day feeling great, stuffed full of cake but more importantly, that I’d learnt so much and actually helped people. I’d finally done something useful on a Sunday instead of making a permanent dent in the sofa!
“But, on a serious note, my point is this: HHUGS fills a gap. They help the people who’ve fallen through the cracks and gives them the support they need when society doesn’t see them, doesn’t hear them, when society turns away. I’ve opened my eyes and stretched out my hand because I don’t want anyone else to fall through the cracks. All I did was go on their website. Be brave and do the same. Open your eyes and stretch out your hand to those in need.”
Would you like to volunteer and make a difference? You can here.