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Gil Shares her thoughts As a Volunteer (Updated)

October 3, 2012

I have been involved with The Somerville Foundation (formerly GUCH PA) since the Newcastle Annual Conference several years ago. I had used the forum before that and wanted to get more involved so started going to events. I helped out at events but was never formally a volunteer, but that all changed after the Birmingham CHD awareness walk when volunteers helping out there suggested that I should formally become a volunteer and get the forms filled in. The timing of the conversation was ideal as I had been considering it anyhow but wasn’t sure if I was what GUCH PA were looking for. The rest they say is history! I soon got the ball rolling after chatting to the Volunteer Manager. Since then I have helped out at events, sometimes helped to organize the events itself. I am a moderator on the Facebook page and more recently the Community Forum. That doesn’t mean I’m IT literate – that is certainly not the case! I also sit on the GIG – GUCH International Group.

Moderating to some seems easy, but it’s a case of striking the balance as you want to be supportive, whilst realistic, and work within the organisation’s policies. It can be difficult moderating people’s posts but we always send you a message as to why and, if it helps to know, I have also been moderated in the past!

I particularly like assisting at and organising events as I am quite an organised person, due to my working environment, and it’s great to see your hard work come to a good conclusion and everyone benefiting from that.

As part of my role on the GIG I attend various meetings through the year, focusing on the direction we are going in, the achievements of the group thus far and how to build on that. We also attend events such as European Congenital Heart Disease Organisation(ECHDO) meetings, psychology meetings about congenital heart disease (CHD) and many more. It is helpful for members to attend these seminars and provide feedback to The Somerville Foundation so that they can use the information to have a bigger voice in the world of CHD.

I thoroughly enjoy my role as a volunteer and I am glad I got involved. Personally I have met some fabulous people along the way. I hope in some way I have helped both The Somerville Foundation and its members. I encourage others who are reading this who think ‘I don’t know if that’s for me’ to give it a go, get in touch with the Volunteer Manager and see what roles are available. Not all are hugely time consuming. I am certainly happy to speak to anyone considering volunteering about my experiences and to answer any questions.

Gill M.

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