About Author
Liz Drury

Liz Drury

I work part-time at Franklin College as the Business Development Officer, and I also work for myself as a freelance voiceover artist. My job at Franklin involves networking with local businesses, and seeking funding for the college. I also like to take part in various activities around the college (especially drama and music), and I worked with Andy on fund raising projects when he was a student here. Andy’s passion and determination to help the people of Sal Island have inspired me to become involved with Counting Hope, which I am sure will make a real difference to the school conditions for the children there.

Why I volunteer

Why do I volunteer? I suppose I’ve always felt a strong desire to help people whenever I can – and if you help someone else then it makes you feel good too. It can be a win-win situation!

I began volunteering as a teenager when I was invested as a Young Leader with the Guides. I’d been a Guide myself and got a lot out of being a member of the movement, so I wanted to give something back. I really enjoyed working with the girls and helping them learn new skills.

When I went away to university I joined the Durham University Scout and Guide Group. We were a bunch of ex-scouts and guides who enjoyed hiking, camping, canoeing and lots of other outdoorsy stuff, but we also did quite a bit of voluntary work. We organised competitions for the local scout and guide groups – and I bet we had as much fun in the planning of these events as the kids did in taking part. The Venture Night Scheme was a particular favourite – a night hike in the countryside around Durham at the end of October, with ‘incident bases’ to test the Venture Scouts skills. It also tested our survival skills when the weather was bad and the temperature down around freezing!

The best part about being part of this group was that I met a fantastic group of like-minded people who became my friends. One of them even became my husband. We still all meet up once a year (at a Scout association hostel of course) with our families – the oldest children will soon be off to university themselves and I hope they will have as good an experience as we did.

I’ve been involved in other volunteering activities too – fund raising for the church, chairing the Pre-School committee, helping to run the village Community Café, and for about 10 years I ran the Ulceby Heritage Society.

Volunteering has also enabled me to undertake some training – and even led to paid work. Voluntary Action North Lincs (VANL) offered a 6 month course in Community Research 12 years ago, which I did whilst pregnant with my youngest son.  The training was excellent and I use the skills I learned to this day. Once I’d completed the course (and had a baby!) I led a research team for VANL and worked on a couple of different projects for them – for which I was paid.

Five years ago my husband was asked to go and work in the USA for a couple of years. I had to leave my job at Franklin (which they very kindly kept open for me), and I was unable to work in America initially due to the kind of visa I had. So, of course I volunteered! At Franklin I had been involved in the Career Academy, which is a scheme that is actually based on an American organisation called the National Academy Foundation.  A school around the corner from where I lived had a NAF Academy in Finance, and as Franklin has an Academy in Business & Finance, I decided to approach them and see if they were interested in hearing how things work in the UK. I ended up joining their Board!

I also volunteered at my kids’ school in the States and helped with marking books, preparing materials for lessons, and organising auction items for the school fair. I got involved with the Cub Scouts too –helping at meetings, and helping to plan and buy food for the annual camp, which the whole family went to! We made friends for life through the Cub Scouts – it was a brilliant way to meet people.

I’ve now been back at home for almost two years, and though I’m not doing quite as much volunteering in the village as I did (other people have taken over the Heritage Society and the church fund raising I’m pleased to say!), I am involved in volunteering at Franklin. I spend an hour or two a week after college helping out with the Shakespeare enrichment project. I love acting, so it’s not a chore, but it can be hard work trying to get students to turn up for rehearsals and costume fittings! I’m also involved in Counting Hope of course and it’s exciting to be part of this new venture, which I hope will be a great success.

So in summary I think that volunteering is really worthwhile because it gives you the opportunity to be part of something that’s bigger than yourself, and to make a difference. It has brought me new skills, paid work, lots of friends and even a spouse – plus the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve helped a few people along the way.

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