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“If someone I knew was considering volunteering, I would definitely tell them to apply to Oblong. It is a great place to start your volunteering career and who knows where it might lead!”
Woodhouse Community Centre is staffed by a team of friendly volunteers, who are all working to make the experience in the centre as good as it can be.
The first point of call is reception where requests and queries are dealt with initially. Claire is one such volunteer who has taken up the role, among other things to gain experience in her journey.
We spoke to Claire who told us about herself and her reasons for volunteering.
“I originally hail from bonny Scotland (Glasgow to be precise). I have lived in Leeds for 5 years. I have two boys aged three and seven, who are my world, despite the fact they are typical boys who run me ragged most of the time,” she said.
Claire had good reasons for wanting to take up volunteering: “I had suffered some mental health issues which were compounded by feeling isolated so I decided that volunteering would be a good way to get out and meet new people and learn some new skills.
"I had heard about Woodhouse Community Centre from a friend so decided it would be a great place to start,” she said.
The main focus was working on reception but this extended into other areas: “During my time volunteering with Oblong, I have mostly been involved in reception and administration work, although I organised a coffee morning here at the centre in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research.
“I also helped Jess Woodall with a marketing project last year and I gained a First Aid at Work Level II certificate organised by Oblong.
“I try to attend the Oblong Social when I can,” said Claire.
Volunteering has been a very positive experience for Claire in gaining new experience.
“Since being with Oblong, I have gained new skills in customer service, reception and bookings, marketing skills and also become aware of the work of some of the tenants within the centre such as Inclusion North who I have also provided some administration work for. I have gained confidence in my abilities and have enjoyed working alongside all staff and volunteers,” she said.
Claire also said that she enjoys volunteering at Oblong because of how she feels she benefits from its structure.
“I like the fact that Oblong is relatively small and therefore I have felt very much a part of a team. I have volunteered with other, larger organisations and even as a volunteer have found myself lost in the system sometimes,” she said.
However, the thing she found to be the best about the experience is that: “All of the staff and volunteers have been really supportive during my time and I feel I have made some real friends,” she added.
And without hesitation, she said that anyone considering volunteering should consider Oblong: “If someone I knew was considering volunteering, I would definitely tell them to apply to Oblong. It is a great place to start your volunteering career and who knows where it might lead!”