• Iqra's Volunteer Story
Iqra creating a podcast

Iqra is 24 and is a retail manager in Huddersfield.   

Listen to her story as he explains how volunteering is helping her manage her mental health and meet new people. 
In addition, the podcast also covers: 

  • How she found a flexible opportunity that fitted around her job
  • The type of volunteering she has been doing
  • Some of the additional skills she has learned
  • Some of the experience she has gained
  • How the skills are helping build her confidence



whether you're looking to gain skills and experience, to enhance your CV or personal statement or to make a difference in your local community, Volunteering is a great way to achieve it. Over a quarter of the population. Volunteer in some capacity once a month. This could be in a community group working in health or social welfare or supporting sports and social activities

You can even volunteer online so you don't need to leave the house. There's a thriving community of young volunteers in West Yorkshire, and we've sat down with them to get the inside knowledge on why they do it, where they do it and how you can get involved, too. My name's Graham Sykes and I run the youth agency Youth social and author of the book Destination Adulthood

I've been joined by IRA from Huddersfield. Hi! Hi. Do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself? So my name's I

I'm 24 and I live in Huddersfield. I'm currently a retail manager, and I've been volunteering with future creative for just under Rian. And what sort of roles have you been doing? So I've supported the Ella Dawson Foundation, which is a charity for young people with cancer, and I created some pointing for the festival and I helped out in the festival as well

And I've also helped create a lantern for the light or poly workshop and also helped during the procession afterwards. Sound interesting events to get involved in. Is there other tasks that you got involved in while you were doing that with them? So with the Ella Dawson Foundation part of the festival itself, there were quite a few tents set up with different activities going on

So my role in that was to help guide people. Just show everyone what different activities were going on. And also we helped with social media capturing different pictures of the event itself because the event runs yearly

So just helping with their social media to promote the event and just raise more awareness just supporting them really. And then on the actual procession day, it was just making sure that everyone knew what they were doing, making sure that the roads were safe, safe when the procession was actually going ahead, making sure that there were no cars in the way and also just using my lantern in the actual procession, which was quite nice. So what was it that made you want to volunteer? So I actually struggled with my mental health and previous to working in retail

I used to volunteer anyway, so whether it was in a charity shop or it was doing bits in between while I'm working. And I just wanted to do something aside from work that would help me really and just meet new people. So how did you get into volunteering then? Once you decided that that was something that you want to do

How was it that you actually right? I'm going to go and do that? Where did you start looking? So I actually looked at a few different websites, and I was mainly looking for something that I could do that was flexible around my work because obviously I was already under of stress. I didn't want to commit too much. So I started looking on some online websites that were mainly like the HS area, like the Kirkley website

And then I found on the university the HSD University Careers page. It was actually a careers event going on at the time, so I thought if I attend that I could see a lot of the different opportunities that were available and then obviously decide later with the information I've got, which one would be more sorted? So you mentioned your mental health. How is volunteering? Helped? So I think especially with this future creative opportunity, it's been quite flexible around my work

So I can do a variety of events and get involved with different things and meet new people without affecting my work and other commitments. And also some of the sessions they've had have actually supported as well. So, for example, we actually had an introduction to mental health training, so I could relate to some of that

And also it gave me tips for if I am struggling where I can go and what sort of advice or support is available out there? So that was something that was quite interesting as well. And then I think, with my mental health being like actually during the covid time, actually going into the community again and meeting new people through future creative and the different events it actually helped with my networking and also meeting new people again and just, you know, communicating and not having the anxiety to actually go out, which helped quite a lot as well. So has it given you any new skills? Yes

So every every different session of had has given me a new skill, really? And I've learned quite a lot. So, for example, recently I attended an autism planning session, so I've not had any experience of autism. It was quite new to me, but there were people in the session who've had that experience, and I felt like I've just learned quite a lot in the hour or two that we were there

And especially when I volunteer in law, partly theatre, for example, and I help with whether it's a pantomime or a musical. And obviously I deal with the public quite a lot. If I come across anyone who's experiencing such a thing, or even like mental health or anything like that, I know where to sign post them or how I can deal with it and understand it better

So I think that's one thing that has been really useful. So you said that you're in employment at the moment, has volunteering helped you with your job in any way. Yeah, so When I was struggling with the mental health, I had to take time out of work and when I actually volunteered, it allowed me to get back into work again

So actually volunteer, it gave me the confidence to think like I'm in the right state of mind now and I can go back into work and because I continued that throughout. I didn't feel quite anxious in my role anymore because they got to the point where I felt like the work was getting too much. I either had the choice to look for something else or to drop out of the role, but because of the confidence I got in volunteering, I actually was able to continue with my employment and a lot of people around me noticed that I was a lot more happier

I was just different in myself and I think the different events I did whilst I took time out just here, like, you know, just to recover and stuff. The volunteering really helped because I didn't need to commit to a certain amount. It was just whatever I felt comfortable doing, and I think that was one positive, really

That's brilliant. I'm sure lots of people will be able to relate to that and hopefully follow in your footsteps. So what have been your favourite experiences so far as a volunteer? Not necessarily favourite, But I think sometimes, like it's difficult to volunteer because you feel like you're not not getting anything from it, but with future creative like the reason why I've, like, really enjoyed it is because they really recognise the work we put in and we get certificates throughout the work we do

And I think that really motivates me to be honest, because a lot of people say to me daily like you know, you're a retail manager and you volunteer as well. How do you how do you manage it? How do you stay motivated and passionate about it? And when I do speak to people about you, I'm really passionate about it, and I think that the fact that they recognise and they put a lot of like help and support, I think that something that really stands out for me and the reason why I keep going to be honest and why I've attended so many events and helped out because it's just really positive and a friendly environment. Really, I think that's kind of something that stood out for me

If anyone's listening to this and considering volunteering, what would you say to them? I think I definitely say, obviously, do your research and see what kind of volunteering you want to get involved with and don't get put off. So, for example, when I was looking for volunteering opportunities, a lot of them were like You have to do, for example, a Wednesday every week or you have to do at least three days a week or something like that, and I felt like it was too much, and then I felt quite stuck in, You know, the opportunities that are out there. But there is quite a few, like future creative that are quite flexible and don't feel like you have to commit to a certain amount

You know, you can do a few days a month or whatever you want to get involved with, and it just kind of helps with your confidence, really. And even if you're already in work or you know you want to do something alongside, volunteering really helps and you gain a lot of skills as well that are quite useful even now in work is some really useful skills I'm gaining at the moment and just meeting new people and working in the community is quite nice. Well, thank you very much for coming in and spending some time with us and telling your story

It's really interesting and wish you all the best in the future. Thank you. You are aged over 16 and interested in becoming a volunteer

Visit the N cv.org dot UK website where you can find your local volunteering centre. Alternatively, search Google for volunteering in your local area


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.