Meet the Volunteers:
Volunteer, and Committee Treasurer, Eleanor Martin introduces herself and shares her thoughts on volunteering below.
Tell me a little bit about yourself:
I grew up next to Bartley Reservoir and still live locally with my husband and 2 cats. My day job is working for the NHS as a medical secretary which keeps me very busy but in my free time I enjoy trips to the theatre, visiting new places and DIY.
What volunteering have you done so far with FOBR?
All of my work has been "behind the scenes" due to disability which makes the physical aspects difficult. As treasurer I have been responsible to setting up the FOBR bank account, and keeping track of all monies in and out, whether this is grant money, donations, or paying contractors/services. I have been fundraising in different ways such as selling used books, creating donation boxes and creating crafts to be sold at local fayres. There are several projects underway at present and I chip in where needed.
What made you want to volunteer?
This role came about when I was approached by an old friend wanting to set up a group to make Bartley Reservoir a better place, and could not say no to that. However, I have volunteered with different organisations in the past and the overriding reason has been the desire to give a little something back. In this case I grew up around the reservoir and when young used to go for walks up to St Leonard's Church or the Bluebell Wood with my family. I think most people could see a deterioration in the area over the years and the chance to create an outdoor space like I enjoyed, was compelling.
What do you get out of volunteering?
I enjoy being able to use my time and skills in a way that is creating something for the local community, rather than just for myself. It gives me a sense of purpose and achievement to see all the small ways that volunteering leads to bigger and better outcomes. I became unwell 22 years ago at university and my life changed a lot. I didn't think I would be able to contribute much to anything. However, being able to work for the NHS and have this opportunity to make a difference to my local community, many of whom may be unwell, disabled, going through stressful and challenging times themselves, means the world to me.
What would you like FOBR to do differently?
We are still a fairly new group and open to adapting as needs change, and experience grows. I just hope that we continue to embrace any person who wants to become involved and to work with other groups to build a strong organisation
What would you say to anyone who thinks of volunteering?
I would say there is an opportunity for everyone in the world of volunteering. No matter what your skills or abilities are, there will always be "something" you can do. But remember, volunteering is a gift you give: make sure that you take on challenges that make you happy and if something is ever too much, then there will be another opportunity round the corner.