“I had been retired for about a year and I was looking for a voluntary role but struggled to find an organisation which would be understanding of the limitations placed on me by Chronic Fatigue.
Having visited the Mary Frances Trust tent at Ashtead Village Day, I realised this might be the sort of organisation to which I could contribute and that would be able to accommodate me.
As a former occupational therapist and having also worked in administration, I was looking for a role which would enable me to tap into my interpersonal and administrative skills.
On getting in touch with MFT, I found everyone to me very warm, friendly, accommodating and keen to make me feel at home.
I have been working on Reception at The Crescent in Leatherhead a couple of hours a week for just over a year. The role is a varied and no one afternoon is the same. I might find myself answering the phone, welcoming visitors to the centre or sending an email to a member of the team. Then there is photocopying that needs to be done and the monthly newsletter to be printed. From day one, I have been made to feel part of the MFT team and the staff are always very appreciative of my contribution.
MFT has a very professional approach to its volunteers’ role in the organisation and puts on regular training sessions providing us with the opportunity to meet other volunteers, while at the same time keeping our skills up to scratch. For my part, my role gives me a new sense of purpose and the opportunity to feel part of and give something back to the wider community”.
"I started volunteering for The Mary Frances Trust at the end of September 2018. I assist with some of the administration and research work at the office. My work sometimes involves me going to look at venues to see if they are suitable to run our courses at. The administration involves data inputting and some distribution of leaflets. The tasks I undertake vary from week to week.
I like the fact that it is mainly in the office and the work I do challenges me and makes me think. It has also helped me to adapt to new situations. I get on well with the person I work for, Michael [Powell, our Area Co-Ordination for Elmbridge]. He makes me feel valued as a member of the team. In my spare time, I go to the gym and practise karate. I enjoy a game of pool when I get the opportunity. I also enjoy going to the cinema, watching sport and other programmes on the TV. I like current affairs and discussing them with anyone else who finds it interesting. I like to try to go out at least once a day to help with mental health."
“I have been an Assistant Walk Leader on the Mary Frances Trust Walk for Health on Epsom Downs for six months. I am always there, rain or shine! My role is to stay at the back to ensure we all stay together and chat to people along the way. I have found volunteering a really great help. MFT have supported me during my ill health. I am happy to say I’ve stuck it out with the walking group and shall continue to do so.
I decided to help with the walks because I realised there were other people who had experienced difficulties like me and I wanted to help them. I have found that volunteering on the walks has been an important part of my recovery. When I first started going on the walks, I was at rock bottom. Now I would say I’m at 70%! I find walking in the open space of Epsom Downs always makes me feel better. When I began volunteering I found it hard to be among larger groups but now I don’t even notice it and find it much easier to chat to people. I recently completed my walk leader training course and I am planning to lead my first walk soon".