This week is Student Volunteering Week. We are proud to be able to celebrate the young people who freely give up their time to support our charity. We currently have student volunteers in our charity shops and care homes, as well as at our day centres and at our fundraising events.

Volunteering can help young people learn new skills, meet amazing new people and help boost CVs and university applications.

Matthew, who is working towards attaining his Level 2 Royal Horticultural Society qualifications, volunteers at our Haviland House dementia care home as a gardener.

He spoke about why he volunteers and what he has gained from doing so: “My grandmother had dementia, so I wanted to support a charity that helps people living with the condition – and Guild Care’s specialist dementia care home was ideal. I knew that the time and skills I could offer would be a great benefit to everyone at Haviland House. I enjoy my volunteering as what I’m doing is seen by lots of people and contributes to the rest of the team’s work in making Haviland the best place it can be for those who live there.

“Volunteering at Guild Care has given me the experience of using my horticultural knowledge and practical skills outside of my own garden! The team are aware of my other commitments, and the flexibility Guild Care offers means that I can volunteer when it’s most suitable for me.”

Issie is a Guild Care volunteer who won an award at our 2018 Staff and Volunteer awards. She was also kind enough to explain what it’s like being a student volunteer. She said: “‘Proud’, ‘included’, and ‘loved’ are just some of the ways being part of the Guild Care family makes me feel. For so long, Guild Care has been an incredibly supportive and vitally important part of mine and my family’s life. Primarily, the charity has enabled my brother, Tom, who has Cornella De Lange Syndrome, to live a more active, stimulating, and fun-filled life through its Ashdown service.

“I support young adults with a range of disabilities, including learning disabilities, every Thursday night at Methold House. Game nights, film nights, quiz nights, and food nights are the main events that my group enjoy on these evenings. I act as an ‘extra pair of hands’ to help the service users have as much fun as possible!

“A challenge that I first began to help me earn my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has become a regular, lovely part of my life. I adore supporting the Guild Care community and I look forward to seeing what it brings in the future!”

Claire Hutchinson, Guild Care’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, said, “It’s absolutely wonderful that Matthew, Issie and our other student volunteers give up their time to support Guild Care.  We’re really fortunate to have them. As well as being a way to give back to your local community, volunteering can be a great way to complement your studies and gain an insight and experience in to certain types work. 

“The main thing though is that it always should be enjoyable. We can be flexible regarding the times that our volunteers come in as we know that they have other commitments and there will be times when their main focus needs to be on their studies. I would definitely encourage anyone to give it a go. Even a couple of hours a week in your local charity shop could make a big difference to us and possibly to you too."

If you’re interested in volunteering then contact Claire on 01903 600602 or email [email protected].