Christina tells us about her experience volunteering for Abbey People
I’m Christina, an U6 leaver, and I’ve been volunteering with Abbey People for the past few weeks as part of the work experience I’m doing this summer. The CEO Nicky and I exchanged emails and I was keen to learn more about Abbey People’s work, so we arranged to meet at their Hub on Barnwell Road. Over the course of our conversation I was struck by the variety of projects Abbey People have going on – I was excited to work in the charity’s different departments, picking up useful experience and always ready to start something new.
I think it’s important to say that although I was specifically looking for work experience, volunteering with Abbey People is a valuable opportunity for people of all ages. Whether you’re looking to take a step outside your routine or for something to work alongside your current focus, it’s always worth doing a bit extra. There are countless skills you can learn and strengthen and the new environment is a friendly, enjoyable place to work, which is especially important as lockdown eases.
For me it’s been really valuable getting in touch with and giving back to the community in person. I’ve been working mainly in social media, which means I’ve been able to learn about all the vital, impressive projects going on, while the finance I’ve done has made sure there’s been variety – not just in the work I’ve been doing but also in the help Abbey People have received. I enjoy both creative and more scientific work (I studied Maths, French and English A-level) and Abbey People have been flexible in offering a wide range of tasks to suit my interests.
What has stood out to me the most during my time at the Hub is the community feeling at its core. Abbey People is an organisation driven by its commitment to the area, which is reinforced by the volunteers. Some are local, some like me are from other wards in Cambridge, but both are instantly welcomed as part of the group. This feeling is exactly what Abbey People advocate – coming together to collaborate – so the benefits of volunteering are twofold: directly, it provides the technical support so necessary for organisations like this, while indirectly it strengthens the community spirit in the same way that Abbey People’s local projects do. Volunteering works on an exponential basis as the more people there are joining in, the faster the organisation grows and the greater the return for everyone.
If you’d like to get involved or if you have any queries you can contact Abbey People here or drop into the Hub at 15 Barnwell Road – we hope to see you there!