Volunteers’ Week 2019
Volunteers’ Week is an annual event that takes place every year between 1-7 June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK, Everyone is invited to join this national celebration of volunteers and volunteering, it’s up to you to decide exactly how you join in.
Each and every one of you make a unique and crucial contribution to our work – whether fundraising, raising awareness, providing support or campaigning – united by a passion to make a difference for people affected by MND.
As part of our #VolunteersWeek celebrations we are pleased to have some of our volunteers sharing their experiences and stories to help inspire you!
Don't forget to take a look and see how else you can get involved in Volunteering for the MND Association.
Nicola – Association Visitor
Nicola got involved with the MND Association after a University talk from Jo Cunnah and Kevin Thomas. For someone who had very little prior knowledge on MND she found the talk really interesting and knew almost straight away that she wanted to get involved. That's when she looked into the role of an Association Visitor (AV).
Nicola has now been volunteering as an AV for the MND Association for 9 months and has enjoyed every step of the journey. She said:
“I still have a lot to learn but feel like I am learning with every new experience. Knowing I am helping someone with MND no matter how small or big is so rewarding.
I would recommend becoming an AV to everyone, it’s so rewarding for everyone involved. In April 2018 I ran the Chester half marathon to raise money for the MND Association's Clwyd branch! Up to now I have raised £320!”
Vicky – Branch fundraiser & volunteer
Vicky has a personal experience of MND after losing her mother to the disease. Vicky was 18 at the time and as well as helping to look after her 5 younger siblings, she was the main carer for her mum.
The family weren’t aware of Vicky’s mum’s diagnosis until after she had died. At the time Vicky and her family lived in Switzerland, but 10 years later, now residing in Sheffield she decided to take action and get involved in volunteering.
Her energy, commitment and enthusiasm is contagious. As well as her fundraising activities, Vicky has joined the committee of her local volunteering branch and is already creating lots of awareness raising opportunities in her local area.
Ela – Student volunteer
Event Management student, Ela Hartley, who studies at the University of Winchester, has been supporting the Southampton and Winchester Group as part of her studies. Ela recently organised a successful fundraising dinner in her hometown which raised almost £1500. She is hoping to join the group again in October. Ela said:
“I wanted to support the charity as I have witnessed the devastating effect MND can have on individuals. I volunteered through my local MND Association group and my role was about raising awareness of MND and the Association.
As I am currently studying event management at university I decided to organise an event and use this as a way to promote awareness of the charity whilst raising valuable funds that would support the local group. The event that I organised was a charity curry night.
During my time at the local branch I was introduced to family/friends who have unfortunately had a family member or friend suffer from MND. I felt humble to have met them and been a part of the local branch. This experience has been touching, informative and rewarding.”
Arooba - Raising awareness in Newcastle area
Arooba is from Pakistan and has been raising awareness in the Newcastle area by volunteering to run various stalls. She says:
"I am an individual who is aiming to accomplish a bright and hopeful future for many and a young scientist in the making. Initially, I joined the MND Association to learn more about the situation and to have an insight [into the disease]. Reading about the condition and how it affects people left me baffled and confused; I wanted to do and learn more. After digging deeper into it I have learnt more and the MND Association has opened my eyes to question things around me.
Having this knowledge I feel part of the Association and look forward to raising awareness of many in the society. This is one reason why I am starting an MND Association Newsletter. It is the support from the amazing volunteering team at the Association that will help make this a reality. This will be a great opportunity to share my knowledge with those around, allowing them to open their eyes regarding MND and if possible help us all make a safer place for all those affected."
Jack - Association Visitor
Jack Roskell is 68 years old and has been a volunteer for the Association for just over a year. His wife, Karen, was diagnosed with MND and Jack cared for her at home until she died in October 2014. They were together for 40 years and have two sons together. Jack says:
"It took me nearly two years to decide to become a volunteer for the MND Association. After Karen’s death I felt that I would like to repay the help and kindness that we had received from the Association but in the first few months I did not feel up to committing to a volunteering role. I set up a tribute fund in Karen’s name to raise funds for the Association selling cards and prints of Karen’s artwork.
In 2016 I decided that I would like to do more. I contacted our local group and was informed that there are now no active Association Visitors (AV) in the area and I was encouraged to train as an AV. I looked on the MND Association website to see what was required and decided to give it a go. I completed my AV training in April 2017.
Although my primary role is as an AV supporting families living with MND in whatever way I can, I am also the group contact and a clinic volunteer. Recently I have also been involved in setting up a support group in Barrow as part of the Cumbria Neurological Alliance.
Becoming a volunteer was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I get to meet some lovely people and make new friends. The professionals that I work with, both MND Association staff as well as Health and Social Care professionals, are a pleasure to work with and very supportive. I really do feel part of the team! Becoming a volunteer has enriched my life and given me a sense of purpose."