Laurence volunteers with Shopmobility Belfast - a charity which provides free daily use of electric scooters and manual wheelchairs
What does Volunteering involve?
As a Volunteer, primarily my main goal is to look after our members’ needs. I do this by making sure the equipment ( either a scooter or wheelchair) is ready on their arrival and they are comfortable when they set of on their own. I also sign up anybody that is new to the service as a member so that they can enjoy using our service in any of our 30+ locations.
What Skills or qualities are required for the role?
I think you have to have a desire to help people. It is important to empathise with our members and make sure they are happy both when they arrive and when they leave. All other skills are taught to you by Management e.g. computer skills, administration, customer service etc and all of these things are great to learn
What inspired you to Volunteer?
When I first started I had no idea what I was getting into. I wanted to get out of the house and interact with people on a daily basis. This role has turned my life around. Meeting all members, both new and old has let me build relationships. There is a huge satisfaction seeing someone begin slightly nervous at using the equipment for the first time, to then becoming fully confident and the outcome is that they become more independent. I love to see this transition.
Would you encourage others to Volunteer?
If I can do it, anyone can! If you have spare time on your hands, contact HQ and see how much it will grow on you as it did on me. When I arrived I had never even used a computer before!! Now I fully run the Unit in Connswater Shopping Centre. The Management team have a lot to do with this. They will listen to any problems, help teach new skills like using the internal database and will help solve any issue.