By Lindsey Chamier
I have been volunteering with Community Impact Bucks since June of this year. I also volunteer for Chiltern Music Therapy who are a charity providing therapy using music, which looks at creating change and improvements in communication, physical, social, cognitive and emotional needs for all ages. I do half a day with each of them every week depending on the work which is required. I decided to get involved in volunteering as I am currently studying part time for an MA in International Relations and so had some time to spare which could be usefully spent helping in my local community. It also helps balance my life and prevent it from become one big self-indulgence! I found both my volunteering “jobs” through the Community Impact Bucks’ website which has a very user-friendly function allowing you to browse in your particular area of interest and then apply for volunteering opportunities. Before I started the MA, I spent a number of years working for the BBC in a variety of roles in television production and then after moving to Buckinghamshire in 1997 I worked for Connexions (a careers organisation) in High Wycombe. I therefore have a variety of skills and experience which I have been able to put to good use.
I have found that the volunteering fits in perfectly with my other commitments. Both organisations are very flexible so that if I have a big essay deadline then I can move the days which I work for them around and they are very supportive. I have done a variety of administrative tasks such as writing Success Stories for Community Impact Bucks and some marketing research and database input for Chiltern Music Therapy. I work at home from my desk overlooking my lovely garden (not so lovely as the winter begins!) which is perfect for me as I have a weak muscle condition which impairs my mobility so not having to concern myself with parking and access is a big bonus. I am in regular contact by phone and email with both charities and so it all works very well. I suspect they will have to try quite hard to get rid of me now! I thoroughly recommend volunteering either to gain experience and skills to enhance your CV, to try out something different or, like me, you have a few hours which you would like to put to good use.