Volunteering for a small charity can make a big difference to their overall achievements. We are currently searching for volunteers to help us with a range of activities, including marketing, design, communications, fundraising, project organisation, on-the-day help, and scientific advice. This blog shares the experiences of Zoe, a dedicated individual who has volunteered for us on a weekly basis over the past year, and her belief that volunteering can help you too!

I am a 16 year old sixth form student in Cambridge and I have been volunteering with Findacure since November 2015. Most importantly, I’m stunned at how much I have gotten out of this experience.

When starting anything new, no one ever has any idea what to expect (which why I guess they say to expect the unexpected). But at the end we often forget to look back to see how much we’ve learnt.

Before I started volunteering at Findacure, the only experience I had working for a charity was at my local community café, waitressing. But over these past months I feel that I have learnt so much. For example, how to go about researching around my ideas, developing my design skills and using Photoshop (which I was super proud of). These may seem like small things but they are invaluable when working on any school project, getting a job, even in your everyday life, and can look great on your CV when you’re just starting out.

I now realise that this was just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much we can learn from others and being in an environment where you could potentially work one day. Communicating skills! Talking with the people you’re working with effectively, completing the task that they have set you, compromising when ideas clash, learning to ask questions and giving your own opinion. From going to a school setting to one where you’re left to your own devices, I’ve realised, is a big jump. By volunteering you can gain so much experience that it makes that jump much, much smaller.

My original intention was to use the hours I was volunteering to complete the CAS (creative, active and service) hours necessary for my course at sixth form. But this experience has given me so much more than I originally expected. I now truly believe that if anyone has a couple of hours in the week, it is well worth using them to work for a charity. Not only are the skills and experience you gain useful, you also learn so much from the people you work with.

We would like to say a massive thank you to Zoe, for her time, effort and advice. If you are inspired by her experiences and would like to volunteer for us, please email libbie@findacure.org.uk for more information.