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Buzz News Post > Main Article > Our amazing volunteer heroes share their inspiration for helping others
The Buzz > Our amazing volunteer heroes share their inspiration for helping others

Our amazing volunteer heroes share their inspiration for helping others

arlynne volunteer

According to our amazing volunteers, time helping others is always time well spent.

Here, three of our volunteers share their inspiring stories of how they began their volunteering journey with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, and what helping others means to them.

Lynn Bruce volunteer

Transforming lives

Stroke survivor Lynn Bruce says volunteering for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland over the past year has transformed her life.

The 49-year-old, who lives in Cardowan, near Stepps in North Lanarkshire, suffered a stroke in 2016 when she was living in Perth, Australia.

Moving back to Scotland to be closer to family, Lynn went on to develop epilepsy, and the consequences of her medical condition meant she could no longer work as a phlebotomist (blood nurse).

A member of a stroke support group in Shettleston, Glasgow, Lynn realised she was getting as much from talking to volunteers as she was chatting to fellow stroke survivors. She decided to take the plunge and become a volunteer herself.

She says: “I became a Kindness Caller after going through the training and I call two people every week. Each of them is young to have had a stroke, so I feel as though I’m helping them adjust to their new life. I think it’s important that I’ve had the same experience that they are going through.

Volunteering is so worth it for your mental health and for your soul.

“What I enjoy most about volunteering is giving something back. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has done so much for me personally that I want to repay that. I hear and see the appreciation and happiness in the voices of the people I’m speaking to.

“When they know I’m going to call them the following week, I know how happy that makes them feel. That fills me with joy. It’s not only benefiting them but also me.

“I love feeling needed. I hadn’t felt that in a long time and now I do.

“Volunteering is so worth it for your mental health and for your soul. It’s good soul food. Volunteering resonates and sends ripples of positivity throughout everyone involved.”

Peter Bathgate volunteer

Coming out of his shell

Since joining Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland as a volunteer, 62-year-old Peter has thrown himself into his new role, which he says has helped boost his own confidence.

Peter, who lives in Edinburgh, says: “I had a knee replacement operation after a lifetime of being sporty and standing every working day for eight hours in my job as a printer. During my recovery in 2017, I got in touch with Volunteer Edinburgh who put me in touch with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

“I was immediately impressed at the work they were doing. They asked me to be a driver collecting service users, taking them to and from their support groups.

“I'm not the most sociable or most outgoing person, particularly when I first meet new people, so I thought driving would suit me down to the ground.

“At the first meeting, the coordinators asked me to sit in with the group. And that was it. I became not just a driver but part of the group.

What I’ve enjoyed most is seeing people who have had a stroke start to improve.

“When the first lockdown came along, I volunteered to do shopping for some of our service users who had to shield or weren’t able to get out. Then, when we went into a second lockdown, I moved on to making telephone calls and organising Zoom calls with a couple of people.

“What I’ve enjoyed most is seeing people who have had a stroke start to improve. I only usually see them in the group for eight to 10 weeks, but I see their recovery in that time. It’s so great to see their enthusiasm and to see them recovering something of themselves.

“I have the opportunity to get to know new people and can honestly say they have all been lovely. That’s what I get out of it – meeting people and seeing their recovery.

“Going to the meetings and volunteering as a driver has brought me out of my shell and given me confidence. People ask me what I do in my spare time, and I tell them I volunteer for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and encourage other people to get involved.”

arlynne volunteer

Spreading kindness

Arlynne Gold, 54, of Leven in Fife, became a Kindness Volunteer with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland while she was furloughed. Walking the dog for a shielding person was time well spent, she says.

“I had been furloughed from my job as a receptionist in a sports centre in Glenrothes during the first lockdown. I really felt for all the people who were stuck inside, those who were shielding or elderly or vulnerable.

“I’m fit and healthy, so I wanted to do something to help. I did a Google search for volunteering opportunities in my local area and came across Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. This was my first time as a volunteer and it has been great.

“The charity asked me if I’d be happy to walk a dog for Michelle, who has had to shield and lives nearby. Well, of course, I was delighted! We have an elderly cat but my husband David and I love dogs.

Volunteering has been so good for me.

“Michelle owns a lovely West Highland terrier called Iona, and walking her has become one of the highlights of my day. In fact, the whole family has gone gaga for Iona! We even bought her birthday and Christmas presents.

“I walk Iona in all sorts of weather and at times I wondered what I’d let myself in for. But walking Iona has been such a joy, not just for me but for the whole family. And I’ve got to know Michelle really well too and we’ve formed a nice friendship.

“Volunteering has been so good for me. It felt so good to know I was helping Michelle because she was worried that Iona wasn’t getting the attention and exercise she needed because Michelle had to shield.

“Now that I’m back at work, I don’t have the time to be a formal volunteer, but I wanted to keep walking Iona. So now I send Michelle a text on my days off and go pick the dog up for a walk.

“If I wasn’t so busy, I’d still be actively volunteering for the charity. Anyone who has got a little time to help should get involved. The people you help through volunteering get so much out of it and you also get such a lot out of it. It’s a lovely thing to be able to do.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer, please visit chss.org.uk/volunteering

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