Liv talks about her experience volunteering and what she learnt, including how this supports her in her professional career as a volunteer manager. She talks about student volunteering on helpline and the importance of recognition for volunteers

so, uh, hi, Liv. And thank you for your time. Uh, I wonder if you could tell us something about your experience with volunteer involvement. Sure

So, um, I'm a volunteer coordinator at the Liberty Pirates. Um, and I've been here for just coming up to two years. Um, before that, I, uh, my sort of earlier experience of volunteering was, um, always volunteered from about, um, probably about 14

Um, and the most significant one was when I was volunteering at university, Um, for a anonymous, uh, kind of student call line. Um, and that was my first time volunteering with a lot of other people in a kind of bigger, more organised movement. Um, and it was really impactful for me

It was a really amazing opportunity, and I met a lot of people that I really connected with. It was the first time I felt, um, like, I kind of found my people and also found a community of people. Um, and I went on to be in the committee, um, for a couple of years of doing social media, um, and then, uh, recruitment for volunteers

Um, and that was probably the thing that led me to want to pursue a career in the charity sector and being around people who had a shared Yeah, who were who were equally passionate and wanted to make a change. And that sense of community and sort of united, um, was yeah, was really amazing. And it it really sparked my interest to kind of keep finding that and keep finding those groups of people that were really driven and really wanting to make change

You talk about the volunteer recruitment as a volunteer, and now you're doing that as a paid member of staff. Is there anything similar or different about the experience? Yeah, it it it wasn't. Um I don't think I necessarily saw out, um, a role in volunteer recruitment, but it was quite yeah, there's sort of some definitely something in it to suit going from that volunteering role doing quite a similar, um, quite a similar job

Um, I really Yeah, I really enjoyed it. I think the thing I liked, doing it when I was doing as a volunteer was seeing people when they first started and kind of just interested and want, you know, want to be part of something and get to see them on their journey from just applying to, you know, going through sort of interview stages and getting practise. And, um, it was a real journey to become a volunteer

And it was a you know, there was quite a lot of time that, um, student volunteers had to put in and then getting them as sort of a proper volunteer. And and you get to sort of become friendly with them. Uh, I just really enjoyed that

And I think that, yeah, that was a big sense of community. So I remember when I saw this job advertised, it was a cause area I was really passionate about, Um and then I kind of looked at the job description. I was like, Oh, I've kind of done that before and I really liked it

So, um so, yeah, it did feel like it was a little bit meant to be. And when it came up, there's a sort of thing around working with with volunteers in that as opposed to them being paid staff. That really adds, Yeah, definitely

I think volunteering and being around volunteers is something I like to do and and being around those people. Um, you won't find a more inclusive bunch of people anywhere, I think, um and yeah, getting to I think it's nice having the relationship where, you know, obviously work here, and this is my job. Um, but it's just nice that those are people you are interacting with every day

Um, And you you've kind of got the, um, power is the wrong word, but the sort of agency to do some of the things for them. So they, you know, we love getting feedback from our volunteers because we can kind of make those changes. So it's nice and being a figure to kind of look after them and sort of do what I think would help and and try and make their experience as as good as it can be and and to improve it

And so and I think having that experience, that being a volunteer myself, um, is a nice link. It sort of Yeah, keeps it very, um, involved and not sort of too separate. Yeah, I think that's why you mentioned inclusive

And that's one of the themes within the vision for volunteering. So I really like the way that you brought out that you couldn't have a more inclusive bunch. Can you say more about that? Yeah, I think, um, I think most I can't think of any volunteering opportunities

I haven't been to, uh or have been to where? Um, there's always someone that will kind of just check in or just say hi. And you can go and sort of a room full of people, and it can feel really intimidating and you don't know people, but generally volunteers, they're there because they want to make change. And I think that yeah lends itself to being people that don't want others to feel excluded

Um, and so I've never It's It's always a room full of people that I feel quite confident walking into, um, but I think that's also a sense because I feel very much part of that community. Um, and I think anyone could walk into that, and I like to think that they would be included, but sometimes just getting, I know that wherever I'll go to volunteer, there'll be people that will kind of be looking out for you. But I, I think one thing that would would be great, uh, for change is just to make sure everyone knows that, and kind of I don't think you know it until you go into it

And then you sort of witness this community of people. That's really amazing. And, yeah, it would be great to get more people that haven't volunteered before and kind of expose them to that really nice group of people

Well, that's a really lovely place to to end up before. Is there anything else you wanted to add? Um, I don't think so. Um, I think my my sort of hope for volunteering is that, uh, there's a lot of, I think, the generally now lots of people

There are lots of things people are worried about and concerned about, and lots of, um, issues that people are really passionate about changing. Um, you know, there is a There's a lot of stuff going on, and I think there are a lot of people that want to make change, and I think I I want people to read sort of link making change with volunteering because that's how I think you can make change. Um, it sometimes it can seem so small, but that is the ground up things that can make a difference

You know, you can't things like climate change is something that you know, me and my housemates. We we talk about a lot and we feel very concerned about, but it's not always linked to, actually, how can we make change? And a lot of the time it is through volunteering that you can make the change. And when I when I speak to volunteers, you know in our programme and they sort of ask about, you know, are we making a difference? And you know of they like volunteering

But it's sort of are we making that change against, you know, educational inequality? Um, and I always say Yes, because even if they're coming for one session and are working with one young person, Um, and they're just spending that half an hour reading with them that is making a difference. It's not, You know it's not going to change education inequality overnight, but it's making a difference to that. That one young person, Um, and even if you can't have data or things to quantify that change, um, I like that they they they should know that that is, that is making an impact

And thank you.

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