Laurence's Story

(Photo: Laurence Volunteering at the Pancake Race. Photo by Fran White.)

  • Why did you decide to volunteer at Watford Mencap?

While in search of a permanent job, I was put in touch with Fundraising. I wanted to do something productive with my spare time, enhance/learn new skills and play a part in helping my local community.

  • How long have you been volunteering for?

I began at Watford Mencap in January 2012 and have been working ever since, coming into the office around twice a week.

  • What activities/tasks have you been doing?

I took over organising the Pancake Race in January. I contacted the local authorities (police, council, local buses etc) for the road closure order and to ensure the event would be safe. I liaised with local businesses and schools to attract entrants. I advertised the event in the local area (via banners, posters and social media). I also coordinated the volunteers.

I then helped with the PR, publicity and fundraising for the Watford10K in May. Again, I sorted out the road closure order and advertised the event. I monitored Facebook and Twitter and used social media to broaden our reach. I organised the launch, liaising with dignitaries and other guests.

  • What has been your favourite thing about volunteering for Watford Mencap?

I have particularly enjoyed being part of such a variety of roles. I have been involved with meetings, PR, publicity and advertising, meeting special guests, finances as well as being physically involved with setting up events.

  • What experience will you take away with you?

I have gained experience in PR which was a very new area for me. I have gained insight into the local press and have written numerous press releases. I have been able to speak with local dignitaries and meet a vast number of other contacts, for which I am extremely grateful.

  • What are you going on to do next?

I hope to be working for G4S at the Olympics from June to August. I will then begin my training to join the Metropolitan Police.

  • What would you say to anyone considering getting involved in volunteering for Watford Mencap?

Volunteering is extremely rewarding and not at all hard work – assuming you enjoy it! The tasks are diverse and flexible so can work around any studying or job that you may have. Even a few hours a week can make an enormous and measurable difference to the people that Watford Mencap support.

  • What are your future ambitions?

I would like to move up the career ladder within the Metropolitan Police. The scope of the force is huge, but, having a degree in Chemistry, I am interested in Forensics.

  • Other than volunteering, what other activities do you enjoy taking part in?

I have been an active sportsman throughout school and university. I continue to play rugby and have joined a triathlon club. Some friends and I are also planning a kayaking trip down the Thames.