Alister Bell from Newtownabbey has volunteered with the White House Preservation Trust for the last five years
I got involved in volunteering by accident!
The Late Bob Armstrong MBE a local volunteer had taken ill and I was asked to help with the completion of funding applications and five years on I am still involved.
I was hooked with no way out, however my experience as a volunteer with the organisation made me want to make a commitment and it has lasted ever since. I now have a great bunch of friends both old and new, that I might never have met only for my voluntary work.
Volunteering keeps me extremely busy in fact sometimes there are not enough hours in the day although I enjoy this. It also helps that my involvement with the Trust is related to my favourite interest – Local History so it’s a win, win situation.
There are occasions when I find it hard dealing with funding bodies and government organisations as they can forget that we are volunteers and that our knowledge and experience may not be that of a person who is paid and trained in areas such as policies and finance – this however has not stopped us! I wish they would make it easier for community and voluntary organisations who are trying to make a difference in their own communities
I believe that the secret to the success of our volunteering group is team-work and if you get a knock back get up and try again. If someone says NO ask why. It is amazing what volunteers can do working as a team. We rebuilt the White House in Newtownabbey and believe me this is a great success for all the volunteers and our local community.
I would definitely recommend volunteering to others, it’s such a motivational experience. It feels like I am making a difference in other people’s lives and in the community and when I see other people happy I am happy and motivated to keep doing what I am doing.
Volunteering brings a new life experience, volunteering offers new lifelong learning. You can’t buy the time commitment of volunteers and you can’t pay for it!