This month we are spotlighting one of our Get out, Get Active volunteers, Turgay Demir. Turgay has been a dedicated volunteer for many years now and has recently been awarded volunteer of the month. We caught up with him to hear about how it all started.
Tell me a bit about yourself…
I am currently in the last year of my PHD, studying politics and international studies. I am originally from Turkey but have lived in the UK since 2014 – in Leeds specifically since 2016.
How did you get into volunteering?
When I first moved to Leeds I used to regularly check the LUU website, looking for things to get involved with, and found GOGA that way. I started off as a participant and was then encouraged by an activator to become a volunteer. A colleague of mine at the time had also volunteered with GOGA and encouraged me to get involved. This is now my fourth year as a volunteer and I’ve started leading some walking groups myself.
What have you been able to experience through being a GOGA volunteer?
I enjoy being a part of the trips and helping ensure that other people have a good time. It is great to come home and know that you have helped someone, especially someone you have just met. Getting the chance to go outside more has also been great for my mental health.
What skills have you developed through GOGA?
I have really developed my communication skills, specifically in terms of learning how to understand participants’ priorities and expectations. I have also learnt map reading skills, leadership skills and time management skills – time management is very important on GOGA trips to ensure that they run smoothly.
What have you enjoyed most about getting involved with GOGA?
Meeting new people from different cultures! It’s great to be a part of a programme which brings different people together in this way.
GOGA has become part of my lifestyle! I have a great time being involved with GOGA. It helps prepare you for life after university in terms of the skills that you learn.