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Volunteering – Michael’s story

"To be honest I probably get as much out of mentoring as they do, as it's so fulfilling."

Our 600 trained volunteers provide practical advice and support, and a range of nature based activities.

Michael is interested in other people’s lives and what makes them tick. Other words that could describe Michael are: ‘community spirited’, ‘open-minded’ and ‘empathetic’. Combined, these qualities make someone a perfect fit as a volunteer for the Surrey Care Trust.

Recently retired, Michael was looking for something useful to do when he contacted the Trust about our volunteering opportunities. He had some experience of training and coaching and so was drawn to our mentoring programme. Michael attended the Trust’s short training course for volunteer mentors which helped him to understand the challenges faced by the people the programme supports.

The training really opened my eyes. I’ve been incredibly lucky in life, but I know there’s a world out there that I haven’t had to contend with. The course helped me to understand what people may be struggling to make sense of, and it also enabled me to meet other like-minded people.

Over the last three years, Michael has mentored an adult, a child and two young people, including Sam* who has experienced significant trauma. Michael says: “People are often helped by other agencies but are then bewildered when that support stops after a fixed period of time. I’ve been able to reassure my mentees that this support won’t suddenly stop after six months, and I’ve seen a real change in them during the time we’ve spent together.

“Sam was struggling to sleep, had difficulties at home and was worried about revising for his GCSEs but we talked about these challenges and how he could cope better, and he achieved good results. I was delighted for him!

In fact, Michael has found such a sense of accomplishment in volunteering as a mentor that he has recently joined the crew on the Trust’s Swingbridge Community Boats too!

*Name has been changed

Find out more about our volunteering opportunities here.

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