After facing a redundancy in my job and other significant life events in a short space of time, my health and wellbeing began to deteriorate. I hoped to return to work very quickly, but due to ill health I was unable to do so yet. In this time my confidence had began to drop and I was becoming isolated. I had volunteered in the past and knew it was a great way to build myself back up ready for work, as well as giving my time to a meaningful service which was just as important to me.

I already had a passion for helping the Homeless, as my daughter and I make winter packs for the Homeless to give out independently at Christmas time. So, I began looking for volunteering opportunities related to Homelessness. I then discovered DASH, I had my initial interview and I was very impressed how they welcome volunteers and accommodate their skills, interests and aspirations to suit their role as well as their benefit from our given time. I chose to volunteer with DASH and have been working with them for nearly three months now.

Out of all the volunteering opportunities that were available and the new ones I could have created, I choose to work with the new ‘Health and Wellbeing programme’ DASH had started for the residents but didn’t have a volunteer who could carry this on consistently at the time. I felt this programme was a great way to deliver sessions on the fundamental skills for the residents to regain a good stance in their Health and Wellbeing. This would set them up for a positive start in their new futures too. I feel that having to rebuild my own health and wellbeing has given me insights to what is needed for this programme too.

My role has a variety of aspects to it, but it is essentially to organise and advertise and attend the sessions with the residents. I am finding this experience enjoyable especially when interacting with the DASH team who are very friendly, funny and welcoming. I especially like interacting with the DASH residents in the sessions and seeing them benefit from what is being delivered before my eyes, this reminds me what it’s all about really for me, providing a valuable service and care for people.

I have found my confidence has built back up through the work I have succeeded to do and whilst working in a team again. It has also reminded me of my strengths and abilities and for when I do return to work in hopefully the near future, it has helped me see what weaknesses I would like to work on and it has given me something to develop them with, such as writing documents through my struggles with dyslexia. My hopes for the next six to nine months would be to be in good health and be back into work in something that is meaningful to me. I feel that volunteering with DASH is helping me to get there.

It has been good to get to know about the DASH Charity service, and their role in Homeless prevention in County Durham. I’ve found it to have a good heart centred approach to support people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, giving them a strong helping hand to rebuild a new life and to gain essential stability and security through the supported and unsupported accommodation. I’m so glad DASH exists, and I really hope it continues to grow, so more people can be helped when in need. I would highly recommend volunteering with DASH if you’re looking for a meaningful way to give your time and develop personally.

Clare
DASH Volunteer