I don’t feel alone any more
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Phil is a volunteer at the Stratford Hub and during learning disability week we asked him about his experiences.
“ I was getting bored because I used to have an active life with my family business but once that packed up and I was here by myself I really had nothing to do. I finished college and my father had passed away. Then I had some volunteering work at a café and I really enjoyed it. I had to leave and I was sad to lose that job. I asked Jake from Mencap for help and he told me to come to the Hub and meet Jessica.
"I came along on the open day in October 2012 and ended up helping out. By December 2012 I had signed up as a volunteer at the Hub. I thought ‘yes I can do it! I can be a volunteer again.’ I felt great about it because it’s somewhere for me to go, I don’t want to be on the streets. I like working hard and I love helping customers and feeling useful.
“Since volunteering at the Hub everything has changed for me. I have more confidence now and I don’t feel under pressure any more. I used to get pains in my chest and feel like I could lose my temper but now I feel so calm and happy. I have a purpose. This place makes me feel relaxed.
“What makes me happy is to help other people; that’s all I want to do. As a volunteer at the Hub I have the chance to do lots of cool things. I am a Safe Places champion, I helped promote the Hub when it was just starting and I won a Volunteer Award. I also took part in Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade in front of the whole town. As a customer I have gained a lot from taking part in Hub stuff and making friends, but because I’m a volunteer I get to do all of the working stuff as well. I’ve done English and computer courses, photography, dancing, sports, gardening group and loads more. And now I’m doing a job workshop and CV writing. I even went on a trip to the seaside with my friends at the Hub last summer.
“Being a volunteer at the Hub makes me feel proud and happy. I say “I’m a volunteer at the Hub why don’t you come down and join us!” I try and get people to come down and join in the activities here because this is like my second home and I want other people to see what we have to offer. The Hub makes people feel happy and not scared any more. It helps them a lot because they can come in and have a coffee and not be frightened of anything.
“I meet people and I make friends. I like doing my jobs and working by myself, if people want a chat I can chat to them about anything. I like being part of the team, they’re all nice and friendly and we have a laugh together. We’re like a family. I don’t feel alone any more.”