As I entered my final year of university, I felt very grateful for the opportunities I had been granted in my life, and felt the desire to ‘give something back’. I therefore decided to participate in some voluntary work, and searched through the voluntary positions on Glasgow University’s work experience programme ‘Club 21’. Although there were many different opportunities available, the Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries volunteer position stood out because of its direct involvement with those affected by cancer. I thought the role sounded challenging but rewarding, and Macmillan Cancer Support was distinguished in my mind as a particularly worthwhile cause to contribute my time to.
I submitted my application online and attended a relaxed interview: it was very easy to get involved and the managers were very welcoming. The training consisted of 4 evening workshops that provided information about cancer and some preparatory advice regarding communicating with service users. Again, the atmosphere was very relaxed. Discussion was encouraged and volunteers were able to get to know each other during breaks. The training successfully provided volunteers with a foundation of knowledge on which to build; and to apply once we began our volunteering.
Throughout my time volunteering with Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries, I have always felt very well supported. Materials such as information leaflets are always supplied and explained to aid us in our roles. Further workshops such as those providing information about the new benefits system or Chi Gung classes were offered to volunteers to improve our understanding of the issues that affect our clients and the services we can offer. And the Support Officers are always very welcoming of ideas, and acknowledge any issues raised.
One of the highlights of my volunteering experience so far has been participating in the Glasgow Santa Dash with fellow volunteers. Running 5km around Glasgow City Centre was a great experience and a personal achievement, and the money raised of course contributed to funding Macmillan’s cancer support services. I also enjoyed the volunteer Christmas social which was a great chance to properly get to know the other volunteers, who are all kind, gracious, and crazy!
I believe my experience with Macmillan has contributed to my personal and professional achievements; and will greatly enhance my CV when I graduate, not only because of the renowned brand name Macmillan has established, but also through the communication skills I continue to develop throughout my time as a Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries volunteer.
Macmillan is a great organisation that provides an exemplary standard of cancer support, in no small part due to the passionate people that it attracts and employs. Volunteers within Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries are offered a place that in no way feels subsidiary to those in remunerative positions; the chance to work within an organisation that values your presence and places importance on your development; as well as the opportunity contribute positively and directly to those affected by cancer, which I have found to be one of the most fulfilling endeavours I have participated in, throughout my personal, academic or professional career.