Having volunteered for nearly 12 years at the Grace Eyre Foundation, Peter Dupont was certainly no stranger to the world of volunteering when he became a Trustee for 3VA.
Why am I a trustee?
“Purely by chance,” said Peter.
“A colleague at Grace Eyre was also an employee of 3VA and, while talking, I found myself volunteering to take some photos for them. Finding myself interested in 3VA’s philosophy, I also participated in some community event sessions in addition to taking photographs. Adam Chugg, then the CEO of 3VA, just happened to be on my table one day and suggested I might like to be a trustee.”
Very much a believer in saying yes, wherever possible, Peter happily agreed and has been a valued Trustee for around two years now.
What does a Trustee do?
While Covid-19 has unfortunately limited 3VA’s face-to-face activities, Peter is still involved via Zoom meetings and online. Pre-Covid, Peter attended regular board meetings and helped bring 3VA’s new website to life, averaging about ten hours a month.
What do you get out of it?
Like many people, Peter volunteers so he can give something back. That said, he also candidly admitted: “Altruistic to a degree though I am, that in itself is probably not enough for me. I’m also looking for some social and intellectual stimulation. Being a Trustee offers challenges, as well as helping others. It has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve learned a lot.”
Peter appreciates that volunteering is a massively complex subject. “I’ve learnt that people tend to volunteer for a variety of complex reasons,” pointed out Peter, “and, for me, the real challenge is to make sure that the volunteer position and the volunteer’s needs marry up. Perhaps successful volunteering is when the volunteers themselves sincerely feel that what they’re doing is both worthwhile and appreciated.”
Nevertheless, he accepts that this almost recruitment-style method is not always practical given that few organisations can afford to turn away volunteers. That’s especially true now that Covid-19 has greatly increased the need for kind-hearted people to step forward to support the voluntary sector.
As he also remains an active volunteer at Grace Eyre, a charity committed to supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues, Peter is acutely aware of the cumulative effect Covid-19 is having within the community. However, he has no doubt that volunteers can help in myriad ways: spending time with someone, improving their self-worth and confidence just by walking with them in the woods ‘Covid-style’, is just one small way Peter does this brilliantly.