Andrea’s story

Mum and two children playing

I always thought about volunteering for an organisation but something better always came along - a shopping trip with the girls, a drink out with friends. Or so I thought.

After an accident at work, I was left bruised and bored. The doctor suggested I take small walks twice a day. I looked forward to walking through the tree-lined avenue near my house and it was after one of these walks, when I was sitting down to rest my back, that I noticed an advert in the paper about volunteering for Home-Start Slough.

The charity said they were looking for volunteers to befriend families who were going through difficult times. I thought, “I can do that”.

I enquired about the 11-week course and within a couple of weeks I was attending my first training session, sat next to women from all backgrounds and walks of life – married, single, employed, unemployed. We all had one thing in common; we wanted to make a difference to other people’s lives.

More than ten years later and I’m still volunteering and loving every minute of it.

I’ve done everything from helping parents to fill in forms and support them at meetings, to taking the children for a walk to the park or shops. At other times, I have been the listening ear for parents who are dealing with emotional issues.

I feel that, because I’m supporting a family on a voluntary basis, I’m giving something back to the community. Volunteering for Home-Start Slough has been challenging at times but very rewarding and I’m still in touch with two of the families I helped.

I give 100 per cent of my two hours a week to Home-Start Slough and I would encourage anyone else who is thinking of taking the plunge to put themselves forward as a volunteer.

Two hours out of your week to help a family going through a tough time can make a huge difference.