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Ellie Wright – Battle Scars

For Ellie, volunteering is about getting involved in communities and being a part of building their own community. It’s also a way for them to feel empowered by contributing to causes they care about but would otherwise have felt it was impossible to make a difference in. Finally, for Ellie volunteering is a change to do something different. Finding new volunteering has helped them find new and exciting opportunities.The image reads “It’s like the possibility of doing different things that I wouldn’t usually have access to”

Ellie’s three words for volunteering were not only the opening of our chat but resonated throughout everything they said to me.

Ellie has volunteered since being a teenager and this includes volunteering for Woodland Creations, a charity that runs days of tree planting across Leeds’ parks. It’s at these days that Ellie told me how nice it is to be surrounded by people all caring about the same thing, all working to “physically put something into the community”. The volunteers here really care about the project and Ellie joked with me about how quickly the sign up sheets for volunteers get full. This volunteering role is one that Ellie takes on alongside volunteering for the charity Battle Scars. Ellie talked to me about how they’d found their community at Battle Scars, and the work that’s gone in from volunteers to create and build a space of safety, acceptance and peer support for those who self harm.

By being a part of this community Ellie saw their skills grow, slowly, but noticeably as they described to me how they now facilitate support groups, something that started out as a really scary thing but now is something where Ellie happily runs groups, something they never thought they’d do!

We’ve seen how volunteering has offered different opportunities to Ellie and how it allowed them to be a part of and build their own community. In their own words Ellie told me how “it’s quite easy sometimes to feel disempowered and there’s so many bad things happening in the world, but this is a small way to show that you can change things and act on the things you care about and it feels really good to be able to do that.” Volunteering has empowered Ellie and given them the chance to make changes and contribute to their communities.

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