My name is Graeme and I started out with Volunteer Dundee as a volunteer 11 years ago. I had had a period of ill health and my goal was to make it back to work. Volunteering was a stepping stone towards this. I didn’t even know there was a Volunteer Centre in Dundee before then.

I did 2 hours 2 mornings a week in one of the local offices updating a database. It was great. It was nice and light. It didn’t affect my benefits. My health was improving and I had something to talk about with friends.

After being there a while, a member of staff was leaving and it was suggested that I should apply. So I did and I got the job. It was 17.5 hours a week which was enough to let me get Working Tax Credits. And more office experience. I was answering the phone, speaking to the public, using email etc, giving volunteers their travel expenses.
Later I moved to the City Centre office and it felt like I had accomplished something.

I’d been interested in web design and a volunteering opportunity came up to build one for a Dundee charity. I remember being encouraged by Volunteer Dundee staff to give them a phone. We met for coffee and they took me on after some reference checks. We did it on a shoe-string but the site was not bad. This time volunteering had let me practice newly learned skills, get experience and a
reference. I don’t think an employer would have given me the same opportunity at that time.

10 years on I work as an Information & Communications Assistant. I publish and promote volunteering opportunities on our website and social media. I speak to people thinking about volunteering, do a volunteering newsletter, administer awards, and support some of our own volunteers.

I enjoy my job. There is a lot of variety. Many aspects are similar as I did before ill-health. Which feels like a bit of a milestone. Some are relevant to the college courses I did during recovery. And Volunteer Dundee have been supportive throughout.

I have tried volunteering elsewhere while working full-time but found it meant a long day and I gave it up after just as short while. When I speak to people, I can relate to why they want to volunteer. There is no guarantee that it will lead to a job but I wouldn’t underestimate how much it could improve your life.

It has taken me a number of years to reach this point and getting back to a place you once were has been hard but is paying dividends. In my spare time, I like catching-up with family, listening to music or watching tv, going to the cinema or eating out. Back to an everyday life.

Speak to me if you would like to volunteer. I can say who is looking for volunteers. What sorts of things you can do. How often. The benefits there should be. Or where you can find us in the community for information and advice. If you are an organisation, I can help promote your volunteering opportunities, employment vacancies and events. There are the Saltire Awards to recognise young people volunteering or I can tell you about our Volunteer Friendly Award.