Volunteers’ Week 2019 took place from the 1st-7th June. The week is a time to celebrate and highlight the benefits volunteering brings, not only to beneficiaries but also to the volunteers themselves. Volunteering brings people and communities together, builds confidence and develops new skills, improves mental health and has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Breast Cancer Now’s ActWELL volunteer lifestyle coaching role is a perfect example of this.
In March, we invited the volunteers to the V&A in Dundee to thank them for their invaluable contribution and celebrate the trial’s achievements to date. It was also an opportunity to find out what being involved in ActWELL meant to them.
For some volunteer lifestyle coaches, it was a chance to use existing skills as healthcare professionals, others wanted to support women of a similar age to improve lifestyle and raise awareness of the link between lifestyle and cancer prevention.
‘Personally, it has reminded me of the skills I have. I feel I have been of help to these women. Feedback has been positive which encouraged me to continue to do what I was trained in by the ActWELL team’ Christine, volunteer lifestyle coach, Dundee.
Overwhelmingly volunteers told us they enjoyed meeting women, listening to their stories and supporting them on a journey. Volunteers believed they were helping these women and making a difference to improving their lifestyle.
‘It’s been brilliant being part of the team and you actually feel quite privileged to be part of the journey these women are on.’ Elaine, volunteer lifestyle coach, Edinburgh.
Volunteers also described feeling more confident, that they had met new people, made friends and gained new skills or built on existing skills. Many mentioned they felt they were giving something back while contributing to research on cancer prevention.
Regardless of their motivation for volunteering on ActWELL, what united them was their belief that the project was worthwhile.