Sometimes you can live in a place for years and never really know it

A view from one of our volunteers

Manchester, I’m sorry I’ve been ignoring you.I’ve lived in Manchester for almost two years now. For one of those years, I’ve worked in the city centre. Pretty much all week I am in Manchester. All week I trudge in and out and have never really seen what it has to offer. Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. It’s so easy to fall into that routine and life becomes mundane and boring. Same old, same old.

A few weeks ago I got told I was being made redundant (I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last – it seems this is a rite of passage these days). From this, I decided I should use my newly found time to volunteer for a worthy cause. So through http://www.do-it.org.uk, I found Envirolution, the cause I’m currently volunteering for and the website you’re now currently on. I’ve been here about two weeks now.

I can’t express to you how much more exciting these two weeks have been in comparison to the year before. The first thing I went to was a fundraiser. I went on my own, so my heart was in my mouth (probably standing in for my tongue, which at that time was a little tied up), I was that nervous. Everyone was lovely though. I met so many people, all of whom were happy to just sit and chat. It was a very relaxed environment, which made it a joy to get involved. Positivity was everywhere you looked.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve attended so many things, from meetings to theatre productions to drinks with other volunteers; it feels like my life has been jacked up a notch. I don’t have any time to be bored anymore and I feel much more involved, not just in the group, but in Manchester’s community and society itself.

We all know the benefits to our community which we can achieve with volunteering, but on a purely personal level it improves your life so much too. This may only be my first couple of weeks, but I’m determined to continue and look forward to new experiences and challenges it brings.

I know some of you will be saying, ‘oh, well you don’t have a job, so of course you have time for this kind of thing’ – I’m still working full time for the moment. It can be tricky to balance this kind of thing with work, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a capoeira class to go to – which I found out about through
volunteering.

Rob – First Time Volunteer.

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