Rima talks about how she got involved in volunteering in the first place, what she gained from the experience and the barriers she faced, especially as English was not her first language. She shares the difference volunteering made to her life and and how it helped her settle into a new community. 

So could you tell us a little bit about what prompted you to volunteer in the first place? When I came to England, I I didn't even understood what volunteering is. So But there was people who asked my help, and I was helping. So there was lady who asked me to help to translate. And we went to in school with her son and I was translating to her, and one of the youth organisations was there to support the family

And they invited for me to come and help them out when we were meeting and it started from there. And as I was thinking before how it started, I was thinking afterwards my experience was with No, My first experience was with you, uh, group and I was around the you helping them and everything. And then I had my third child

So was stay at home mom for quite a few years afterwards. What I noticed because most of the things are was at least under fives and I had two under fives and one older and without the family and friends, I couldn't leave him anywhere. Yeah, so we started doing activities for so we could join with our all kids wouldn't be separated

And that's how I started my community group, which I didn't understood where I am going. So, um, it was quite a big learning leap. What is community group? How to lead? What? The policies, procedures, fundings, you name it

So that's how I got to volunteering because I wanted something to do with us. My Children. Oh, that's wonderful

That's a great way to get into it. Yeah. Thank you

And did you face any barriers to doing that? And And if you did, how did you overcome them, or did it all run quite smoothly, Or so as I mentioned, um, my background, like I came from Lithuania. So I didn't know any policies, anything. But we had community coordinator, and she was really helpful

She encouraged us, um teached how to apply for funds, where to look for them, how to make constitution, which we didn't even understood what what needs to be on and everything. And another thing was communication. Probably the biggest barrier was communication, and not because of language, but just to understand each other in a group outside of a group and everything so Yeah, I learned my best girl

Probably. Yeah. Communicate to each other

Oh, that's that's great that you were able to overcome those. And, uh, it sounds as though the way the volunteering that you did really connected you to your community. It did because we done first

We started with two after school clubs, and it was like it wasn't small. It was around 20 kids coming in this way and everything when we had quite a huge event, Um, and turn out was like, 200 people would come. So that was That was another thing to learn how to manage this big amount of people coming in and everyone enjoyed because it wasn't at the minute there wasn't anything similar

What we ran like what we done in the past? Yeah, that's incredible. That you had you had to really learn a lot from, you know, from scratch, didn't you? And you've You've sort of mentioned how that really helped you personally as well as helping your community. Um, So what difference do you think? Like volunteering generally

Uh, what difference do you think volunteering makes to people and communities? Yeah. First of all, what it makes It's a lot. It is so much space personally to grow, so to learn all the skills and every different, sometimes different training, sometimes just situations teach you what to do and how to do on the other side

You even don't know how much your little things helps to community. I still meet some families who say How do you remember that? And we came to this event and it was lovely to see you and or like I say, my kids grew up with the kids who attended the clubs and I see them now. Teenagers big

I still remember. Yeah, that's lovely. So it must have had a real impact on those people

Yeah, And another thing is, when I went and I learned a lot about other community groups, other organisations and what they do, So I've been volunteering in a couple of them, so I learned different skills, but as well they were able as well to to do the work we do because we had similar people. To me, I mean volunteering because otherwise we wouldn't be able to provide the service. No, no, that's that's wonderful that that people have given their time to do that

So, lastly, I mean, it sounds like you've had an amazing experience. What would you say to anyone else? Thinking of volunteering? Perhaps somebody who hasn't volunteered before. But they're thinking about it

What would you say to them? Volunteering helps you to To explore the things what you are passionate about as well to to learn. Um, if for me was always what I wanted to help you. So I learned so much about it

I gained safeguarding past aid and all those trainings. So everything. And, uh, just to to dig in and just search around his There is so much amazing Amazing organisations, amazing groups, amazing people doing so much for the communities, for for everyone

And you can learn a lot, make new friends and sometimes that leads to employment For me, that was the case. Yeah. Oh, that's wonderful

Thank you very much indeed for sharing your volunteer story with us. Thank you.

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