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Volunteer for wellbeing!

Volunteering can help you come to terms with an illness or setback in your life and help take your mind off your own problems. That’s certainly been my experience whenever I’ve given my time to others, and in particular when I spent almost two years with the Citizens Advice Bureau during a very difficult and challenging period in my own life.

It's been reported that volunteering can improve volunteer’s relationships with their own families and that same period of volunteering with the CAB was around the time my wife and I finally married, and brought together two sets of children as our beautiful joint ‘super extended’ family.

Volunteering is a good way to meet people, stay connected, improve your self-esteem and your sense of purpose, and as the following tale will explain, I certainly needed some ‘replacement’ camaraderie and purpose following the sudden and premature ending of a longstanding and much-loved career.

Yes - volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau in the late 90's proved to be a pivotal decision in my life.

A wonderful 25-year manual career as an apprentice, electrician and electrical fitter in the electricity industry had ended abruptly through a serious back problem and my associated City & Guilds qualifications and HV authorisation status became practically worthless when I could no longer perform the associated heavy physical part of my role.

Due to the medically prescribed rest, after just a couple of months I was going crazy and just had to do something. I believe 'cabin fever' is the term and boy was I suffering - on top of the physical discomfort my condition already gave me.

Two years comprehensive training and supervised practical advice work with the C.A.B. gave me a totally new perspective on life and work and a degree level qualification through associated European funding available at that time. The whole experience led to a totally new career, eventually running the welfare unit at our local college of further education.

Most importantly, those two years at the C.A.B. dealing with local peoples individual problems and some real life experience of health and social policy issues later proved to be invaluable during my time as a district and county councillor and to a certain extent, still informs my work with the NHS to this very day.

Volunteering changed my life and led to many privileged roles and experiences for which I’m eternally grateful. I cannot stress anywhere near enough, just how beneficial volunteering is to the individuals involved and to society as a whole.

For your own and others wellbeing - go volunteer!


Clive Hart
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