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Redbridge and Newham volunteer Katrina: If you’re thinking of volunteering, go for it!’

7 June 2024

Katrina is one of VoiceAbility’s support session volunteers for our Redbridge and Newham advocacy services. 

Support session volunteers help to reduce our waitlists by working on less complex cases and by working one to one with clients on general advocacy cases. 

Katrina spoke to us about what motivated her to volunteer for VoiceAbility, her experiences so far, and more.

What made you want to volunteer?

I had done a lot of volunteering, and I think volunteering in the community is very important. 

I’m in the public eye in a legal role, and you often find people needing support. By volunteering, it really helps the communities and society as a whole.

Katrina is volunteering in the London boroughs of Redbridge and Newham. Credit: Imagine Photography

How did you hear about VoiceAbility?

I looked up Redbridge Centre for Voluntary Services (CVS) to see what’s available, and I saw VoiceAbility. To be honest I had never heard of VoiceAbility, but I thought that it would be a good opportunity, so I put my name down for it and had a suitability chat.

Tell us more about the volunteer role you’re doing

I’ve been volunteering for the last 6 weeks or so as a support session volunteer, helping clients through the week by doing casework, sending emails and phoning clients to give support. I can do this around my work, which is really helpful.

I’ve been looking more into statutory advocacy, which I didn’t know too much about before volunteering with VoiceAbility. I’ve done a few cases on my own now, and it’s rewarding for me, but also the impact it has on society is really important — especially these days where there is a lack of resources. 

Why is this important to you?

I’ve found that people really struggle with where to go to get support, not just with advocacy assistance. People don’t know where to go, and not everyone can ask family or friends for support. 

My neighbour has issues with accessing support, as they don’t have an internet connection or a phone, which is where a lot of information and support can be found. 

That’s why it’s so good for people to have access to a support service like VoiceAbility, to help them understand their rights.

What has working with VoiceAbility staff been like?

I haven’t met anyone face to face yet, as I’ve only been volunteering a few weeks. But all the VoiceAbility staff so far have been very friendly and welcoming.

I’ve been to a couple off staff members for advice regarding what to do for a case or where to find resources, and they were really helpful.

What would you to say to anyone who’s thinking about volunteering with VoiceAbility?

I think you should do it. I’ve volunteered for lots of organisations, but the training and support at VoiceAbility is really good. 

From a company side, the structure is all set up and you know where you fit. The support with LoneAlert [alert system to ensure lone worker safety] if you are out and about is really good. 

If you’ve got a spare couple of hours, then go for it. I do it around my work.

It’s really good to help your local community in society and you find out new things that you didn’t know yesterday.

Volunteering with VoiceAbility

At VoiceAbility there are a wide range of volunteering roles across both England and Scotland. This could be supporting our advocacy or involvement services, or working with disabled people, and their parents and carers, who need support to access Social Security Scotland benefits. 

Could you be a volunteer?