Judy volunteers for Cruse on the Isle of Man in a number of roles, including as a supervisor for volunteers working with children and young people, a trainer, and a fundraiser.
What inspired you to volunteer?
Although working full time, along with two friends I facilitated a support group for those with breast cancer. Very sadly my two friends died (I survived) and I realised that bereavement support would be part of my role. At that time in 1988 interested people were invited to attend a public meeting to found a Cruse bereavement support group in the Isle of Man. I attended and never looked back. Two years later I handed over the Breast Care group in order to give more time to Cruse.
What benefits would you say there are associated with volunteering?
Goodness - difficult question. For me supporting somebody at their time of darkness and grief, listening without judgement and just being there for them. Cruse has helped me to a greater understanding and tolerance of others.
How does Cruse prepare you for your volunteering role?
This is where it gets really good. The opportunities Cruse has given me over the years are priceless. The original foundation course was so good that after ten years I did it again as a refresher. I am a workshopaholic,and attend every conference I can eg in the 1990's at Swanwick, in Northern Ireland, and the International Conference in Sweden. All brilliant. Keynote speakers, and workshop facilitators are wonderful – my most memorable was listening to William Worden at the Europa Hotel in Belfast – totally inspiring.
I cannot emphasis enough the importance of on-going training and self-development and Cruse gives you every opportunity.
What advice would you give to anyone else who is thinking about volunteering?
Giving your time is a wonderful gift. And there are so many ways to give that time. Helping with admin, fundraising, simply being a committee member and helping with policy and training.
What particular skills do you need to do fundraising?
Know your limitations! I know funding is vital and in our early established years spent so much time organising coffee mornings, jumble sales – all the usual. However demands on our services to the community put demand on our volunteers’ time so the management team now includes members working in the finance sector with specific role as fundraising.
Government has cut financial support to all charities – fortunately for the Isle Man, and I hope this will be the same in the UK, the finance sector understands its role of community support and the majority of our funding comes from events targeting the finance sector – in return for publicity. We are very lucky but it has taken a long time to achieve and the future is never certain.
What's the most rewarding aspect of doing fundraising?
Being recognised as worthy of donation. This is a great boost to the volunteers and is testimony to their wonderful work.