In this blog, Kirsty tells us about volunteering at the West Suffolk Disability Resource Centre in Bury St Edmunds:
I volunteer as a receptionist and admin assistant at the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) once a week for 3 hours. This mostly involves:
- answering the phones
- taking messages
- booking rooms
- greeting people when they arrive for their appointments and notifying the relevant team
- giving information and advice to people about a variety of things, including disabilities, walking aids and services
- general administration tasks.
I first heard about the DRC when I was referred here for an appointment with the wheelchair clinic. Soon after, I ended up becoming quite a regular - I was referred for a few of the other services, as I use a wheelchair and had some time off work because of illness. I'd been thinking of volunteering for a while when Anna West (Facilities Coordinator at the DRC) asked if I would be interested. I'd always felt very welcome and thought it would be nice to volunteer somewhere that provides so much help to people in situations like mine.
My main challenge when I took up volunteering was answering the phone. I found this very daunting! I think what scared me most was if I gave the wrong information to someone. I still feel a little under pressure answering the phones, but it's becoming much easier. Volunteering at the reception desk has definitely increased my confidence too, as you are dealing with people you may have never met before.
I love volunteering at the DRC mainly for the atmosphere. Everyone is very friendly and treats each other equally. Since the first day, I've always felt included and like I'm making a difference by volunteering here.
By Kirsty McMulkin