Hi, I am Nav, I am a Family Mentor Volunteer. I volunteer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays supporting the Story and Rhyme-Time and Fun with Friends groups at Bulwell and Aspley in Nottingham.
My background is in engineering, so I worked as an engineer for some time. Then I started working for an agency as a security guard. I was made redundant, so I was looking for a job when I found out about this opportunity.
I first heard about GGN at my local library. There was a guy sat next to me at the computer and he was having a look at the volunteering opportunities with GGN. He recommended the service to me and so I had a look at the website and decided to apply. I also applied for a couple more volunteering opportunities but GGN were the first ones to respond back and so I felt grateful to be given the opportunity for an interview.
I started my induction training a couple of weeks after my interview for the Family Mentor Volunteer role. During the induction the Volunteer Co-ordinator told us what the project was about, what our tasks would be and how to fill out expenses forms, etc. I also completed my training in Safeguarding and First Aid. As soon as my DBS came through I was able to start volunteering at the groups.
Supporting the Families and Children sessions has been an amazing experience. What I mostly like about the groups is the engagement, the fact that you get to meet parents, other professionals and volunteers but also watch how the children connect with the group and make friends. Seeing the kids build friendships with each other is one of the best things at the groups I support.
Volunteering with GGN matched my empathetic nature. I gained so many different skills; communication and working with people from diverse backgrounds. It built my confidence and experience working with children. I also feel that I have more career options. Before I started volunteering with GGN I felt that I was struggling with my own emotions. I was feeling quite lonely and so with volunteering I felt rewarded for doing something to help my community. I am very grateful to everyone at Groundwork Greater Nottingham who gave me this opportunity to be part of this team.
Seeing the kids build friendships with each other is one of the best things at the groups I support.
If I were to give advice to people that are considering volunteering I would say "volunteer as much as you can". I think volunteers can give so much more to an organisation and you get to see someone develop their skills.