Working at Hailsham Pavilion Cinema might not be your first thought when you think ‘volunteer’ … but for Huw Simmonds from Eastbourne, it has opened up new doors and proven to be the perfect antidote to boredom.
Why did you want to volunteer?
When, in 2018, ill-health unexpectedly forced Huw to retire early from his life-long, professional career working with South East Coast Ambulance Service, he found himself at somewhat of a loss. Although Myasthenia Gravis – a rare, long-term condition that causes muscle weakness – was tiring at times, Huw didn’t feel he was quite ready to stay home and stagnate.
Huw explained frankly: “I was so used to working full-time that, quite honestly, I just wanted to get out of the house. I needed to occupy both my time and my mind – and to have an interest in something. I also wanted to give something back, which is why volunteering seemed perfect. I could work, but with the freedom to choose when!”
What do you do?
Never having done any similar kind of work in his life, Huw chose to volunteer at Hailsham Pavilion Cinema as a Steward – and he loves it!
“It’s a complete change for me. I meet new people every time I ‘work’ and we have really interesting conversations when the films finish. People are always happy to chat – and their positive ‘night-out’ energy makes me feel happy, too.” Once Covid-19 is over, he’s looking forward to helping-out with all the events they put on – and meeting the bands.
What have you got from volunteering?
“Lots of satisfaction,” said Huw. “It has also ignited a new interest in cinema and old films.” Though he has a large, loving family and lots of friends, it would seem that volunteering offers Huw just that little bit extra he needs now he has time to spare.