“I am an experienced person-centred counsellor. I have been with Glasgow Council on Alcohol for a bit more than half a year now.
For me volunteering is something very important. I like sharing my skills and experience and it is important for me to give to the community I live in. I like to do things that enhance life for myself and others. Volunteering does exactly that. In my view it is a real win-win activity. The organisation I volunteer for wins because I give them my time, skills and energy for free. The clients win because they will receive what they need for free and I win because I learn a lot, I feel I am part of something meaningful and I can contribute something to the world I live in. If you are lucky and you work for a good volunteer organisation you will feel that you receive more than you give.
Glasgow Council on Alcohol is such an organisation. Let me tell you how I got involved. GCA advertised a post for a therapeutic group worker. I was interested but found that I did not have the skills to apply for the job. Instead I enquired if I could volunteer and learn those skills. I was introduced to the Team Leader who was running the Alcohol, Crime and Education service. I love his approach and we agreed that I would support him. Doing the 12 week programme was very salutary for me and extremely enjoyable. Right from the start I was imbued with confidence in my competence to do this. He knows his stuff and has a very open and gentle attitude. That helped me to feel at ease and contribute, whilst learning new skills and facts. After those 12 weeks the training officer asked me to work with him to deliver the COSCA counselling skills training. I was delighted. This was yet another opportunity for me to learn more about group work. Again, although I have not done training before, I was given a lot of confidence in my ability to do this. I was offered a lot of support and at the same time allowed the freedom to contribute in the way that suits me. This approach certainly works for me and enables me to do my best.