Volunteer Stories: "If you like helping people, you'll love volunteering", says Rothwell Live at Home volunteer
This blog is part of a series that celebrates the stories of the amazing Community Care Volunteers that have been supporting vulnerable people across Leeds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read their stories and find out more about the people who have been uplifting their communities.
Melanie Mills began volunteering in March, after being furlughed from her job. Melanie explains how volunteering at Rothwell Live at Home, as a Community Care Volunteer, has made her feel part of a team supporting the wider community.
How has your normal daily life changed during the coronavirus outbreak?
I volunteer at Rothwell Live at Home, mainly on Mondays and Tuesdays; building the food boxes for the vulnerable and receiving and sorting the food delivery for the hub the following day. On Wednesdays I help at the food bank for a couple of hours.
Why did you decide to become a Community Care Volunteer?
I was furloughed in my job at the end of March. I saw on Facebook that Leeds City Council was asking for volunteers, I didn't hesitate.
My day to day life is extremely busy and that's how I like it, so to go from that to being furloughed and having nothing to do was a challenge for me!
Have you had any previous experience as a volunteer?
Previously I've organised and been involved in lots of volunteering. I organised a wildlife garden being built in a primary school in Garforth and also updated the playground for nursery children, recruited the volunteers and sourced the equipment needed from businesses in the area willing to donate.
I was involved with Call in Time with Age UK. I called Greta every Friday for over 3 years. She was lonely, had little interaction with friends or family and we both looked forward to our call on a Friday.
I've also organised litter picking on Blackpool beach. I’ve done fundraising in the office for St Gemma’s, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Martin House. I organised weekly visits to Shelter shops in Leeds for staff to help out in the shops to support the charity.
What’s your message for anyone thinking about volunteering?
If you like helping people, you'll love volunteering. It's great to be part of a team to support our wider community.
Volunteers can offer practical support for vulnerable people (such as shopping deliveries, preparing meals, making check-in phone calls) or can sign-up as an informal volunteer to help within their own neighbourhood in more general ways. The Leeds City Council helpline is available so that people in need of support can call 0113 378 1877 to be matched with a local volunteer who can help.
The Community Care Volunteering Programme is not currently accepting applications from new volunteers but there are still lots of other volunteering opportunities available in Leeds. To find out more, please visit https://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/