Edwina Pollack, left, and Pauline Anderson tell VIEW how volunteering for the East Belfast Mission, situated at the Skainos Centre, helped them to regain their confidence
People volunteer for all sorts of reasons but for Pauline Anderson and Edwina Pollock their reasons were simple. They wanted their confidence back after years of being out of the workplace.
Pauline told of how she started volunteering at the East Belfast Mission (EBM) about a year and a half ago. The organisation has a long track history of social engagement with a history that dates back to the 1800s. Today, the organisation runs a diverse range of social projects from its premises in the Skainos building at Newtownards Road Belfast.
“I do some reception and clerical duties. The work was recommended to me by the DHSS after I had been out of work for a long time. I had lost touch with IT skills. “I first started by doing an IT course here and then a mentor called Jason asked me how did I feel about volunteering. I work in the building for around two days a week.
Pauline was asked how did she feel about coming back into the workplace after so many years of being away from it.
“At first it was frightening,” replied Pauline. “But it has done me the world of good, it really has. My confidence has been helped after years of being knocked by long-term unemployment.”
Edwina she had been doing voluntary work with EBM for about a year and nine months.
“I had been my father’s carer for about 17 years before he went into a home. I wasn’t in a very good place when I went to the DHSS. They also recommended that I do some voluntary work with the EBM.
“At first I was terrified because I had been working in the house for so long. I had looked after my father all day and all night. To come into a workplace and meet people was initially very scary.
“This job has really restored confidence again in me. My friendship with Pauline has also been the best thing that has happened to me since I started this work.”
Edwina now feels she is ready to start applying for paid employment.
Both Pauline and Edwina said they have recommended volunteering to women of a similar age and who may have been unemployed for a long time.
The smiles from both of them told its own story of success.
• Latest issue of VIEW: A celebration of volunteering – http://viewdigital.org/2017/06/05/latest-issue-view-celebration-volunteering/