Helen's Story

Why did you decide to volunteer at Watford Mencap?

I was in the 6th form at school in 1998 and Rosemary McKenzie-Corby who was running Leisure Together (now Learning and Leisure) at that time gave a talk about volunteering for the service. It sounded appealing to me as I wanted to become involved in Community work.

How long have you been volunteering for?

14 years.

What activities/tasks have you been doing?

When I first joined the scheme I was working with participants on a one to one basis and I was partnered with Claire as we had similar interests. We go bowling and to the cinema or just meet at home for a general chat and catch up. As Leisure Together has changed over the years, it is now run as group activities and I have helped out at Sports Days, Bowling, Crafts and Discos.

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

Meeting a variety of people and seeing the enjoyment that the participants get out of the scheme. Claire and I have become firm friends over the years and we now meet up separately on a personal basis.

What experiences have you taken away with you?

The scheme has given me a better understanding of other people's needs and I feel that we make a difference to the lives of the participants of the scheme. I enjoy seeing the pleasure that the participants get from taking part in the activities.

 What are you going on to do next?

I have recently had a baby (Lauren) who takes up most of my time at the moment but Claire has already been to meet Lauren and I hope to see more of Claire now that I am home based.

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

Do it! It is a great scheme and rewarding to both participants and volunteers and it is a great way to meet new people.

What are your future ambitions?

To enjoy my baby on a full time basis for the next 9 months until I will need to return to my nursing career at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I have been involved in the scheme for the past 14 years and hope to continue indefinitely.

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

Travelling, playing badminton, swimming, going out for meals and catching up with friends.