By Louise Croombs, Volunteer for Tameside Radio, Inside Tameside and Tameside Reporter
I’m a volunteer for Tameside Radio and Inside Tameside and I will be writing a column each week for the Tameside Reporter exploring different volunteering opportunities in the Tameside area. It would be quite easy for me to report on the many thousands of groups in the area but I would like to try something a little bit different. I have challenged myself to volunteer in as many different roles and for as many different groups as possible over the coming year. This means that not only will I meet volunteers and find out what motivates them but I will also be able to report directly on what it is like to volunteer in different capacities.
However small or big the challenge, I am happy to give it a try --although I would like to say now that I wouldn’t like to jump out of a plane! I have already started my volunteering and in the past month I have sang in a choir, modelled clothes on a cat walk, sold porcelain dogs, rooted through bags of clothes and been rescued by three fire fighters through a window of a lorry and that is just the beginning. I have also made what seems like hundreds of cups of tea for people.
The idea for the column came to me one weekend when I was on an outside broadcast and I realised that this year is ten years since I started volunteering. I have volunteered for lots of different organisations over those ten years: I have befriended, given talks, supported members of a day centre, broadcast on hospital and community radio, and fundraised, but I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg of what thousands of people are doing around Tameside. Over those ten years I have learnt new skills, gained confidence, and I have got a lot of satisfaction out of meeting and helping other people.
I have named my column ‘something for nothing’ because I would like to find out more about how Tameside is supporting and helping itself through volunteering and not-for-profit organisations. I hope that the column will show the groups and charities of Tameside in a different light, even those we all know and love, and bring to the public’s attention groups and charities that may not be as well-known. What is the motivation in this economic climate to do something for nothing? I personally believe that anyone young or old can benefit from volunteering themselves and can really make a difference to other people’s lives. You can gain new skills, develop personally, improve job prospects, make friends, and feel a part of the community. Over the past year volunteering for Tameside Radio I have met so many extraordinary people doing extraordinary things and they have been kind enough to share their stories with me. I would like to share as many of these stories as I can with you.
If you would like to support me in my journey or have any ideas of other things for me to try and do please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or @louisecroombs on twitter or visit louisecroombs.com. Remember no planes though.