Making time for young people
This International Volunteers’ Day, we’re celebrating all our wonderful volunteers who dedicate their time to supporting young people. They help run our shops, spread awareness of important issues, and do vital work in our services.
Here’s a look back at some of our amazing volunteers and how they’ve helped us be there for young people across the UK.
Lydia, volunteer speaker
Lydia helped look after her grandmother from the age of 14. She has since spoken up about her role as a young carer, hoping to raise awareness of this often hidden group of young people.
'A friend offered me the opportunity to speak about my experiences and I thought it would be a good chance encourage schools to recognise the difficulties young carers face.'
'I spoke about how, as a result of being exposed to this world of caring for an elderly person, I grew up at a faster rate, mentally, compared to my peers in school.'
The best bit about speaking out, particularly on a topic that is so real for me, is knowing it can help someone else.
'I think there is such power in putting to use the difficulties that shaped my teenage years so that changes can be made for both schools and the carers themselves.'
Phil, 92, our longest serving volunteer
Phil has been helping us for over 60 years now and continues to put in two mornings a week at the Whitehaven store. He still cycles in and never misses an afternoon in front of Countdown.
He started off selling Christmas cards for us. When he retired, he and his wife started working at one of our shops. Phil mainly works by the till where he can chat to the customers and wave to people passing by.
Customers come in just to have a chat. It's great.
Working in the shop
'I'm always delighted when some of our staff who are unemployed get employment as a result of working with The Children's Society. You see, the shop in Whitehaven, we have training and they get NVQs so this gives them the opportunity to get a job when they were having difficulties getting a job. which I find is great. I love that, that they can get out and find jobs elsewhere, that's the best part.'
Just come along, be open minded...just enjoy it
Helen is a befriender in one of our refugee and migrant services. Befrienders help young people build confidence, meet people and follow their passions. They can help young people find football teams, join dance classes, or just be a friendly face to hang out with.
‘All of the young people that I've befriended have arrived in this country on their own and have often been very young when they have arrived, having experienced some quite traumatic and difficult things.'
‘Just having someone to talk to and someone to have fun with and to experience a bit of the city that they’re in – it’s important.’
befriending best bits
For Helen, the best bit about being a befriender is ‘seeing little changes in them.’
It’s really nice to spend time with young people and find out about their lives.
'It’s also nice to have an excuse to do lots of activities and then kind of like see it with new eyes.'
Become a volunteer
We couldn't do the important work we do without people like Lydia, Phil and Helen.
Our volunteers and supporters allow us to be there for young people who need it most. They help collect donations, they support our services, they raise awareness on the issues that matter.
Whether you want to work behind the scenes or work directly with young people, we have roles for all skills and interests.