Volunteers' Week: Our Thursday Volunteers!
To celebrate Volunteers' Week 2017, we will be posting interviews with some of the wonderful people who support Headway and our members throughout the year. Our volunteers make a huge difference to our team, and we couldn't do what we do without them!
Today we spoke with Simon, who has been volunteering at Headway for 6 months.
What made you want to volunteer at Headway?
It was a few things at the same time. I was due to have a knee operation, so I wanted to make the best use of the time that I had off work. I also wanted to get more involved in the community that I live in, and contribute to something bigger than myself.
It’s something that I really believe in – if everyone did things like this, the world would be a better place. You can’t expect the world to be a certain way unless you do it yourself. My Dad had a stroke when I was younger so when I saw this charity about brain injury and visited, I thought: “Yeah. This is for me.”
How long have you been volunteering with us?
The knee injury was about 2 years ago, and the operation was about 7 months ago, so I’ve been here for about 6 months. I feel like I’ve been here for ages! I’ve got a job part-time and I’m about to go full-time, but I want to try to continue at Headway because it’s something that I feel is part of my life now, you know? I will do my best to continue here because I absolutely love it.
What drives you to keep doing it?
Between the members – who are amazing – to the people that work here, to the other volunteers: I just meet the most amazing people every week. There’s real community down here. It’s a magic, special place. To be part of something like that is an honour and a blessing, and that’s what drives me to come back. I am lucky to have the opportunity to come here every week.
In February, you organised an event called ‘Dalston’s Got Talent’ to raise money for Headway. Tell us about that.
I was doing a course about community projects, and I thought that I’d love to do something for Headway, because this is part of my community now, part of my life. I live in Dalston, and the idea was to get everyone together to connect to the community.
I wanted to raise money and awareness about Headway, because it’s an amazing place which makes Dalston what it is. Without places like Headway, you don’t have this kind of magic. I came up with the idea of doing a talent show – don’t know where I came up with the idea from – and then I met Talia, whose Auntie comes here on a Friday. She was just going into the Arcola Theatre and I told her about the plan and she asked if she could help me with it. So we organised it together with another friend Emilia, and yeah, it was amazing. Life is about connections.
Has volunteering changed your perspective at all?
I just get to be myself, and I’ve improved my happiness. I love coming here, and you become what you do. I come here one day a week, and I have the best time ever. I have a laugh all day. Sometimes we go out on trips, sometimes I’m cooking and sometimes I’m in the art room. I’ve been learning how to draw pictures, it’s made me think I can draw a little bit! I had one on my pinboard at home for about three weeks until I had to take it down. I thought: “I’m probably a bit too proud of this!”
It’s improved my perspective on life. I got what I was looking for.