Gemma’s story

Gemma Williams loves her ‘job’ as a volunteer playgroup leader at Willingdon Trees Community Centre.

Why did you want to volunteer?

As a single-mum, it is often difficult to work or meet new people, so Gemma was delighted when a friend she met at toddler group suggested she help out with the Willingdon Trees Community Centre playgroup.

Gemma explained: “I had so much free time and I really wanted something to do, so the playgroup was ideal for me.”

What do you do at Willingdon Trees Community Centre?

Alongside playing games and looking after the children in the Tuesday morning playgroup, Gemma helps provide tea and coffee for the parents – as well as sorting snack-time for the kiddies. And then there’s the tidying-up! Gemma added: “Right now, because of Covid-19, there is also a lot of extra disinfecting and cleaning to be done.”

What have you got from volunteering?

“I just enjoy it. I have lots of fun and I really love helping the children. We’ve just got a new sandpit and the children love it – they are so happy,” said Gemma. Importantly, Gemma has also made some lovely new friends, which she is thrilled about.

What next?

The Community Centre had just started to offer the playgroup two days a week when lockdown hit, so Gemma really hopes they can re-start that soon. Gemma also intends to get a part-time paid job after Covid-19 and pointed out: “The 18-month experience I have gained through volunteering at the playgroup is invaluable. Not only will it be good for my CV, but a reference will also be very helpful.” Definite proof that while volunteers do masses of giving, they can also receive.

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