Julie McFadden is our retail coordinator at Tŷ Hafan, but just last year she was a volunteer! Having taken early retirement a few years ago, she decided to volunteer for us in her spare time, but when a position in retail came up at the head office, she thought… why not.
I began volunteering in April 2017 once a week, not long after I’d taken early retirement from my job.
Volunteering hadn’t really crossed my mind, purely because I’d been so busy working a full-time job. But when I took early retirement I felt like I needed to do something with my new-found spare time; something that helped people, was worthwhile and allowed me to meet new people.
So in April 2017, I began volunteering at Tŷ Hafan at the head office’s retail department — I’m local to the area so it was only a short walk to the office for me. And one of the best things about not needing to drive to Tŷ Hafan was being able to walk past the fields with new-born lambs running around in the spring.
I’m trained as a mortgage underwriter, so I knew I wanted to do something related to administration or related in some way to my skills, so assisting the team with retail admin tasks was perfect for me, and I loved it!
When the team discovered I was contemplating applying for the role, they encouraged me to go for it, and shortly after I found myself back out of retirement and into a job at Tŷ Hafan in December 2018.
It’s just as rewarding as my volunteering role, but now I’m doing the role four days a week instead!
You never know where volunteering can lead you. I certainly didn’t expect to end up starting an actual job again — but it’s definitely down to Tŷ Hafan’s friendliness and passion that made me want to stay.
I’d say to anyone thinking about volunteering to just go for it. Like me, you might find you enjoy it so much that you end up a permanent member of staff!