Posted: 16 January 2015

Spreading the word

Our volunteer speakers are vital in supporting our work. Dave Farris, the President of Southwark Diocese, answered a few of our questions about being a speaker and why he's found it a dream role.

How did you become a speaker?

Someone from  The Children’s Society came  to my old church, St George’s in Surbiton, and  gave a talk  that caught my attention. Soon after, I started helping count the  change in the charity’s money boxes with my wife, Jackie. That  was 25 years  ago. I took early  retirement from  my job at BT in 2009 and  agreed to take  on the  roles  of President of Southwark Diocese and volunteer speaker for the  charity.

What do you get out of it?

For me it’s about supporting the children. My role is to make people aware of the  work  the  charity does and  how they  can help.  People see the  difference it makes to children’s lives, and  they  look at themselves and think, ‘What can I do?’ I’m here  to try and  inspire. There  are so many other great charities, so it’s my job to bring The Children’s Society to the fore.

'You can get such pleasure from being a volunteer speaker'

How often do you give talks?

There is no consistency to it. I do have other commitments but across a year I give around 10 to 12 talks. It gets busier around Christmas. I’ve spoken in all sorts of places, such as in churches, schools – even a wine cellar!

What  do you enjoy about  the role?

It’s a constant learning experience. Knowing that one of my talks can help people understand the value of the charity and its work is very rewarding. It’s as simple as that.

‘It can be terrifying but it’s worth it when you make a difference’

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

We have a great support network to encourage anyone who wants to get involved. Whether it’s talking in front of 10 people or a congregation of a few hundred, you can get such pleasure from being a volunteer speaker. It can be terrifying but it’s worth it when you make a difference.

What  does speaking mean to you?

Looking back, I had a wonderful childhood. We didn’t live in luxury - we had a coal fire and a tin bath - but we had what we needed. There are so many children who don’t have that, and I want to bring that to the attention of others. Sometimes in church someone will quietly come up and say, ‘The charity helped me and it changed my life.’ That’s when I know that spreading the word is right.

Listen to Dave Farris share how he became a volunteer speaker and the difference it makes
(or listen to the recording on the Soundcloud website)

Do you enjoy giving talks and presentations?

If so, become a speaker for The Children’s Society. Our volunteer speakers inspire people in their community to support our work.

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team
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Welcome to the Spring 2015 issue of Voice magazine

Posted: 15 January 2015