I have been volunteering at the Arthritis Self-help network for five years now. I was unemployed at the time, and wanted to be doing something useful for the community. There have been some changes since then, as there would be in any organisation, but we are still welcoming a diverse mixture of peoples into the charity. We have moved into our own, shared community Centre in the middle of Valentines Park and built up useful relationships with other park-users. Some initiatives have changed over time and some have been discontinued as call for them has dropped off, but we still maintain our core directives of providing practical and personal support for anyone in the area with one of the 200 types of arthritis. We still hold twice-monthly Patient Education Forums and engage with the community via a variety of fund-raising initiatives.
I have learnt several new skills while working with the group, and though I am now employed full-time again, I am currently maintaining the charity’s website, which you must have accessed to be reading this blog.