Our volunteer of the month for March is Kate Hiley! She has been volunteering at Seacroft hospital running sports sessions for patients struggling with mental health.
Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?
I am involved in the Gryphons in the Community programme, specifically as a ward activity volunteer at Recovery College. This is a project at Seacroft Hospital where volunteers go onto one of their low secure mental health units to lead weekly sports sessions for service users. We currently lead fun football, basketball, tennis & badminton sessions on the men’s ward.
How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?
One and a half hours a week on a rota basis (usually bi-weekly) – the sessions run on a Wednesday afternoon outside of teaching hours so it is easy to fit around my studies as long as a I am back to the library after!
What made you want to volunteer?
Previous voluntary experience has shown me the rewards to be gained are well worth the time and effort you give. Knowing you’re making a positive impact on a group, whilst learning so much about yourself and building leadership and communication skills is amazing.
What is the best thing about volunteering?
Seeing the impact you make on others and the development over time of individuals’ confidence and self-esteem. Working alongside other passionate volunteers helps you to bring out the best in yourself and others as well.
What are the challenges?
One of the major challenges is the unpredictability of the sessions on a week to week basis; having to learn to be adaptive and think on your feet in order to make sure you take into account the groups ideas to keep them engaged. But this is a skill that is so important in other aspects of life so I am grateful to have been able to develop that through volunteering.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
Couldn’t recommend it enough!
How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?
Very flattering! You don’t really start off volunteering for the praise or recognition but its lovely that others can see the passion and enthusiasm you have for what you do.
‘Kate has been a really enthusiastic and committed volunteer on our Recovery College programme – she is always super energetic and professional which is really appreciated by staff. This was a brand new programme this year so the volunteers were taking a step into the unknown! They have all done an amazing job and really exceeded our expectations. The service users and NHS absolutely love them and the impact they have had in a really short amount of time should not be underestimated’. – Suzzi Garnett, Sports Volunteering Officer
If you are interested in volunteering next year check out all of our opportunities.