Volunteers' Week 2020 

We are lucky to have volunteers from a variety of different backgrounds working with us at Breakthrough.

Some volunteers are clients on one of our services, and are volunteering as a way of getting valuable work experience, or to add something extra to their CV.

Michael's Volunteering Story

Michael is someone who is a both a client and volunteer, here he explains how he's getting the most out of his role on our Independent Living and Pre-employment Pathways courses.

Image shows volunteer Michael Taylor sitting down on a chair with hands on knees, wearing a suit

He said, "I enjoy helping people and it helps me. I have met wonderful people and by speaking with others I am always learning. It’s positive finding out it’s not just me that’s like that, it’s like a club of people that comes together and empathises with each other.”

"Makes me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile, satisfying."

Pathways Co-ordinator Rhonda said, “Michael has been a huge asset as a Pathways volunteer. He is extremely creative and uses this talent to bring a new element into the sessions. Last year we ran an Independent Living Pathways for Proud and Loud Arts, and Michael used his drama and performance experience and skills to take the lead and create a number of roleplaying learning activities, which was hugely successful!"

Michael completed Social Model of Disability Training and commented that at Breakthrough “you’re spoken with, not spoken to and people (volunteers and participants) feel they have an interest in Breakthrough because they can have a positive input.”

Tracy's volunteering story

Image shows Tracy stood up in front of the Town Hall in Manchester. She is stood behind a wman sat in a wheelchair

Tracy found out about Breakthrough while volunteering in Salford's Working Class Movement Library, and joined our Democracy Disability and Devolution project.

 During the women’s project she shared her personal experience of barriers, for example to get a diagnosis in order to get benefits, that “helped me get on my feet”. Tracy spoke about mental health issues, explaining these are nothing to be ashamed of, “it’s not forever”.

Tracy is a valued volunteer who is friendly and helpful, with an honest, straightforward approach and a great sense of humour. She has also supported Breakthrough’s Pathways to Independent Living and Pre-Employability courses.

Rhonda, Pathways Co-ordinator said, “Tracy has a real skill in communicating and encouraging our Pathway group participants to get involved in having their say. Often participants can be quite quiet particularly at the start of a new course, but Tracy takes the time to befriend individuals and gradually we see people coming out of their shell. As a result we usually end up having some lively discussions, with every participant being confident to say what they think!"

Katrina's Volunteering Story

Volunteer Katrina is indispensable to us and has done 24 volunteer sessions, supporting several Breakthrough staff with various tasks including:

Image shows head and shoulders of BUK volunteer Katrina stood against a wall with flowers behind her.

Identifying opportunities, researching activities and groups that other disabled people may wish to take part in and sharing these with staff

Accompanying isolated disabled people to weekly activities. Katrina supports a man to get to and from a sports club each week.

In the office she supports with photocopying, answering calls, shredding, printing and typing up notes.

She has put together packs of leaflets to promote Breakthrough’s projects, recorded client feedback (data entry for project monitoring and evaluation).

Contacted VCSE and other groups to promote a health screening project – and much more!

Katrina has developed skills in Microsoft Word, Outlook, excel, internet, and using the guillotine, laminator etc.

She said, “It’s good, I like everything, I love working in a team, you show me what to do and I get it and get it done, we’re always at it!

You can read about Volunteers Week through this link https://volunteersweek.org/