Ann lives in Leeds and volunteers at Epilepsy Action’s head office. She had worked for 9 years in Epilepsy Action’s membership team, which combined her experience in the NHS, as well as accounting.
“I always enjoyed working for the charity and knowing that what I did went to help those less fortunate than me. To be honest, I knew very little about epilepsy in the beginning. The biggest eye-opener was a video I watched in a training session. It really brought home to me the impact of epilepsy on children.
“I retired at 62, a little later than I planned, but there is a real community here at head office which made it hard to leave. I’d worked all my life, so when I left I promised to come back voluntarily at some point. Six days later I got the phone call and I’ve been back ever since.
“I come in one morning a week but I’ll stay longer if I need to, as I’m flexible. I really enjoy it and it fits nicely in my week. I like to keep busy and I hate saying no, as I get so much satisfaction from knowing that I’m helping others. Recently, I’ve been putting together new information kits for children with epilepsy called Just for Kids. They’re wonderful. I’ve just sent the first 300 packs out and Maxine on the team told me, ‘You’ve now just helped the first 300 children’, which is a lovely feeling.
“My volunteering in-house is a mixture of all sorts of things, from mailing out helpline materials, stuffing finisher bags for the Bradford 10k, to logging press coverage. I also get out to support fundraising events. One of these was a sponsored walk round Derwentwater in the Lake District. My husband and I both know the area and the terrain, so we offered to help people with walking difficulties to finish the course. The weather was not great and we were drenched by the end, but it was brilliant to be part of it!
“I’d say to anyone thinking of volunteering to just do it. You’ll get so much back from it, especially if you understand what you’re volunteering for - you’ll feel a real sense of satisfaction.”
If you would like to become a volunteer like Ann, please take a look at our available roles - epilepsy.org.uk/volunteer