Here at Charlie House we have many fabulous volunteers who give their time freely. With Volunteers' Week right around the corner, we decided to catch up with one of our regular volunteers, Suzie, and dive into why she chose Charlie House, what her favourite things are about volunteering, and what she would say to someone thinking about volunteering...
Why did you choose to volunteer with Charlie House?
“I have a disabled child myself and previously volunteered for various other charities. At the beginning of 2019, I noticed that ReCHarge café was opening and interviewed with Joan, and the rest is history!”
What roles have you had whilst volunteering for Charlie House
“I have had a couple of roles whilst volunteering at Charlie House including volunteer ReCHarge host. I was involved before the café opened, helping to ensure everything was ready when the doors opened in April 2019. I can still remember the buzz, the excitement.
More recently I joined the children & family activity volunteer team where I help out during activities. Before getting started, I undertook a full day of training which included an overview of Charlie House, child protection, communicating with children with disabilities and sensory activities. I recently volunteered at a rock-climbing activity for siblings and I am looking forward to helping out with a sensory activity this month.”
What’s your favourite thing about volunteering for Charlie House?
“The people, hands down. Everyone involved from the families to the people at Charlie House are so passionate and everyone has the same end goal. You’re never a second away from people and everyone knows the purpose of volunteering. There is such a sense of family and when you meet new people, you feel like you’ve known them your whole life.”
What is one of your favourite memories whilst volunteering for Charlie House?
“The people that come into ReCHarge! There are regulars that come in the same day, same time, and order the same thing each visit. Their recurring visits really shows how great the atmosphere is.”
What are some benefits of volunteering for Charlie House?
“Personally, seeing and meeting different people. You get a sense of worthwhileness and know you’re doing something good and giving back. It is really important to feel like you’re giving back to people and being part of the community, especially when you have a disabled a child yourself.”
How does Charlie House make you feel celebrated and/or inspired?
“The Charlie House team are always lovely, positive, and encouraging. I have never heard a negative statement, and everyone has a positive attitude, it really makes you feel lifted up. I love coming here on a Monday, it gives me a boost for the rest of the week. I regularly recognise families within the community that come into the café and even some kids during school trips. ReCHarge is a safe space for children with additional support needs to come; there is no judgement, it is inclusive, and everyone is understanding.”
What would you say to people that are thinking about volunteering?
“Don’t be nervous, don’t be shy, just make the phone call! Any help, even small is appreciated. Charlie House have so many opportunities and will try their best to find a role that suits you perfectly.”
What are the benefits of volunteering for Charlie House?
“It makes you feel good! It’s great giving back to the community, getting to know new people and getting out into the community yourself. Having a disabled child can be isolating as you can’t always do what everyone else can. Charlie House work around your availability and understand that sometimes things happen and you cannot come to volunteer. There is never any judgement.”
What skills have you gained/ developed since volunteering at Charlie House?
“I would say my people skills have developed greatly. I love interacting with all members of the community.” Volunteer coordinator Joan mentioned that Suzie has brought an amazing energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to Charlie House whilst volunteering.