Volunteers’ stories

Volunteering can be exciting, challenging and rewarding. It benefits you and the individuals or the group you are helping. Groups rely on volunteers, so volunteering can make a BIG difference to YOU and your COMMUNITY!

Community Companions telephone befriending – Diana’s story….

“My name is Diana and I’m retired with time on my hands and wanted to help with the Covid-19 effort locally. I have been volunteering for some time with BAVO before the Covid-19 outbreak.  I am a volunteer befriender for people who want some company who may be lonely or isolated.  I normally go to visit a beneficiary every week but since the virus I haven’t been able to visit them in their homes.

“I love meeting older people and talking to them and I enjoy helping people so wanted to continue to volunteer and lend a hand during this time. I now contact people via the telephone; I have two individuals that I ring on a weekly basis for a chat to ease their loneliness.

Covid-19 has left a lot of people living alone have feeling very isolated and lonely which has led to them becoming down and depressed.  I feel that my calls help to ease that loneliness a little and give them some human interaction that they’ve been missing.   The individuals I speak to are very grateful and are happy with the contact and I get a lot of satisfaction myself from helping people; it’s very rewarding to know you’ve made a difference to someone’s day. ”

North Cornelly Foodbank – Christina’s story….

Christina Philpin volunteered at North Cornelly Foodbank and says: “I contacted Sharon Headon of BAVO, asking if there were any openings in Administration work.  I wanted to update my skills, to better my employment chances in this field.

“At the Foodbank I was the first point of contact for clients entering the building, being a friendly face, where each person can feel valued and respected. I discussed their needs, and conveyedthis to the Food Team. I inputted the details of the food voucher onto the computer system and entered information into the daily diary. I also provided administration cover for other Foodbank locations, as required.

“Volunteering at the Foodbank has made me count my blessings, as I have seen a lot of people who are experiencing tough lives. I have grown in confidence with my skills.

“The volunteer role led me to become very quickly employed, in a paid full time administration job. Volunteering is life changing!”

Community Companions volunteer befriending – June’s story ….

“My name is June I’m 89 years old and I’ve been told that I’m BAVO’s eldest volunteer.  Although I’m 89 in my mind I feel 29 and I have a lot to give. I decided to volunteer to be a Community Companions befriender as I’m a widower and I know first hand how it feels to be lonely.  I have a very supportive family but not everyone is as fortunate as myself and I wanted to help keep someone company in the long lonely days.

“Every Thursday I travel by taxi to visit a lady called Muriel who is housebound. I think that Muriel looks forward my visits and our chats and it’s also company for me as well; I really enjoy going.  I know how important it is to have human contact and time to talk and be heard and I’m happy I’m able to do this with Muriel.

“Muriel and I get on fantastically; we are from the same valley so we hit it off straight away.  We talk about times gone by and how poor we were but how happy we were with the simple things in life.  We chat about our lives, our families, about the valley and the changes we have seen over the years and the people we both knew; the hour flies by. I cook at home to keep me busy and every week I take Muriel something I have cooked that week. Its lovely being able to cook for someone else and to be able to help in some small way.

I very much enjoy volunteering with the Community Companions Project and volunteering as a befriender makes you realise what’s important in life; family, love, friendship and the care we have for one another that’s what’s important.”

Karma Seas Porthcawl – Youth Volunteer

“As a youth volunteer with Karma Seas I have made new friends, got fitter, become a better surfer and gained training and confidence to help others to enjoy the sport.  What started out as dipping my toe in the water of LGBT+ has led to me to become a volunteer surf mentor to younger people which has improved my  skills and confidence and ultimately secured by job in health and social care.

“I feel I have helped others to enjoy participating in a sport I love, make friends in their peer group and stay fit and active. By mentoring the same children regularly – I have learnt to communicate better with them and help them feel more comfortable and confident surfing. I have also worked with another volunteer to put together a short movie using new software, which shows the work we do at Karma Seas, link below…

STEER, the Enterprise Academy – youth volunteer

“I first started at STEER when I was referred be the CAMHS Team, as I had been bullied and had low self-esteem. Suffering from terrible anxiety I soon found that the open space and the staff made me feel valued, making me feel comfortable to attend on a regular basis. I soon made new peer friendships and through the supportive activities I felt much stronger as a person and able to cope more with everyday life.

“I find the small steps and much nurturing has supported me to do more and volunteering has helped me to interact with others in a positive way. I am more confident with my peers and I now help with new and younger members in the project. I have improved my wellbeing and self-esteem and I have gained confidence to go onto to do other things .

“Volunteering has helped by improving my mental health and supported me to gain new skills.  Volunteering is exciting and rewarding.”

Bradley Davies – youth volunteer

“I wanted to volunteer to add something to my CV, build really good relationships with other people and find another way to get me back into employment.

“I want to get into retail and started volunteering at Theo’s Charity shop. This has given me a way to gain skills in customer service, team work, organisation and problem solving.

“I also volunteered with the Bridgend Foodbank in Cornelly. This has helped me improve my confidence and relationships with customers and improved my organisational skills.  Volunteering took me out of my comfort zone, and helps me get out of the house and do something different – and meet other lovely volunteers!!”

Youth volunteer with Menter Iaith Bro Ogwr

“Volunteering with Menter Iaith Bro Ogwr  has encouraged me to speak more Welsh out of
school and get involved in more things that go on through the medium of Welsh in Bridgend County.

“Since becoming a volunteer for the Initiative, I’ve created a video to inform the Eisteddfod from the Menter Iaith for them to share on social media.  It has increased my confidence in public speaking . The use of Welsh will be beneficial for me when I am looking for a job in the future. I’m looking forward to doing more volunteer work with Menter Bro Ogwr this year.”

Find out how volunteering changed people’s lives during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020…


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Contact us

Do you enjoy meeting people?

Are you looking for a change of direction?

Have you thought about volunteering?

For further details contact BAVO, T: 01656 810400 or E: volunteering@bavo.org.uk

  • Third Sector Support Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • Investing in Volunteers
  • Quality in Befriending
  • Cyber essentials
  • Cynnig Cymraeg
  • Cultural Competence Silver Award