Volunteering: Using my skills to support Charlie House

  • 20th April, 2021

Charlie House volunteer Roisin shares her experiences working alongside and supporting the charity.

I first became aware of Charlie House when I applied for a Public Relations Intern role as part of my third year at Robert Gordon University. The story of how they came to be and the work they do with families in the North East of Scotland really resonated with me. It quickly became my first choice and I was overjoyed when I found out that my application was successful.

When I started my 3-month placement in January 2019, I was given the warmest of welcomes. I cannot thank the team enough for how comfortable they made me feel. In the first week, it was very clear that there was never a quiet day in the Charlie House office. The team are always working hard, be it at their desks, out giving presentations, holding meetings, visiting families in need, meeting new volunteers or holding events. The list of tasks seems endless, yet everyone does their job with a smile on their face and a positive attitude. No one could accuse the Charlie House staff of lacking passion for their work.

I knew my short time interning with the charity was going to be a rewarding experience. During week one, I got the opportunity to write a press release that was then generated into an article for the Evening Express. This was the first of many achievements I had while with Charlie House and I still have a copy of the newspaper to this day. There are various marketing materials that I created that have continued being used, such as a volunteer sign up card and a template for the monthly newsletter. These and various posters and flyers gave me the title of office ‘Canva Queen’ (Canva being the very useful website used to create the posters and flyers you will see distributed by Charlie House online and in-person).

I also attended various events and family activities, including a visit to Husky Haven and a Sensory Disco. It was great to see first-hand the joy that these activities bring to the families. My time with the charity was aligned with the planning for ReCHarge Café and I was able to help with various tasks that ensured the opening went as smoothly as possible. The café has since opened and is a great place to visit in Bon Accord Aberdeen for a bite to eat.

These experiences are only several of the many reasons why I have continued volunteering with Charlie House since completing my 3-month placement and have went back (digitally) for my second placement as part of achieving my MSc in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Volunteering for the charity has allowed me to continue to practice my learned skills from university. The team are always open to utilising what skills you have as a volunteer. This means that volunteering doesn’t involve simply helping at stalls and events or fundraising through challenges but doing anything you can to achieve the charities goals as well as your own. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the team are still working hard from home and have plenty of ways for volunteers to do what they can too.

In just a few weeks of placement, I have already written several press releases, articles and content for social media, created an Easter activity book being sold on the online shop to help raise funds, created marketing posters for fundraising events, and sat in on interesting meetings. It has been a challenge working from home, with setting up space for a home office and not being able to see the team face-to-face or hold in-person events, but it has remained a positive experience. I have really enjoyed being back with the team, even if it has been virtually.

Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I am to be a Charlie House volunteer and former/current intern. It has been wonderful to watch the charity grow over the past few years as someone who can view it from both an inside and outside perspective. I cannot wait to see what the future brings for Charlie House and its hard-working team and inspiring families.

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