I’m 17 years old and at sixth form at Poole High School. I’ve been volunteering since July 22. It was a gradual thing which started because my mum and I want to walk the South West Coastal Path. We spend a lot of time with family walking on Portland and kept saying we would like to do more but didn’t get round to it – we needed something to aim for. We saw Julia’s House sponsored Jurassic Coast Trek and decided to sign up. They are an amazing local charity that provide help and support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition at home, in the community or at one of their two hospices.
Every year they organise all kinds of adventures in the UK and overseas to raise money. It was great motivation and meant we spent time with family on practice walks as part of our preparation. We did 13 miles from Worth Matravers to Harry Warren House at Studland in June last year and raised £275. Some people walked 26 miles which I’d like to do in future. It was an amazing day, well organised with lots of volunteers who encouraged us – and only a couple of blisters.
I loved the walk, the sense of achievement and how it made me feel, especially for such a good cause. I wanted to learn more about Julia’s House so asked about volunteering. Because of the pandemic, people my age have missed out on a lot of experiences. Getting out can be hard and it makes it difficult to build your confidence, especially talking to people you don’t know. It’s a good way of gaining some work experience.
When I started, everyone was really welcoming and showed me what to do. I help the team of staff and volunteers at the back of the Creekmoor shop, where people donate their stuff. We’ve got a good system that means customers can unpack in an organised way making it much easier to donate and for us to look after things and sort them properly. We sign people up for Gift Aid which is really important to charities. I also help with moving deliveries and furniture onto and off the main shop floor. It’s fun, there’s always something to do and you never know what is going to come in.
We have lovely customers and chat about all sorts of things. Some are regulars and others might be there because they are moving house. We like to give everyone a warm, friendly welcome and people love knowing that their donations are making a huge difference for families who really need it. Julia’s House run open days at the hospices which are amazing. They are very special and I would recommend it to anyone. It gives you a much better understanding of where the money goes and how it is used to look after the whole family. You can tell there is a lot of love in the place.
Through volunteering I’m meeting people from different backgrounds and life experiences. There’s a real sense of community and working towards a common goal. It not only makes you feel good, it has definitely made me more confident and it’s much easier to talk to people. It’s also inspired me – I’m hoping to go to university and would like a career in the sciences particularly in biochemistry to learn about the causes of diseases. For anyone my age, try it and see if it’s for you. For more information visit Julia’s House volunteer roles or contact the team on 01202 644220, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.