Volunteer Paula has been great friend to Macmillan for a number of years and is now pioneering our neighbour role in Presteigne a small, rural town in Radnorshire in Powys.
Although the role isn’t quite officially up and running yet, we asked Paula to tell us a
little bit more about this new volunteering role and why she is excited to be part of it.
Tell us about the Macmillan Neighbour role? What will you be doing?
The role is there to help people living with cancer in the community,
The Neighbours role is an Information point for the community. I will be sharing information about local services to support people living with cancer.
Being on the border here in Presteigne we have The Bracken Trust that have events drop-in sessions and classes and also in Hereford there are a number of courses that people can attend such as mindfulness.
I’ll also be promoting fundraising activities such as Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and Brave the Shave, as well as promoting our local fundraising events such the fundraiser who puts on dance shows to raise money for Macmillan.
I try to make sure that I use local newsletters to tell people what is going on in the area.
Also on the second Monday of every month I hold a drop-in event at the Assembly Rooms in Presteigne.
What is your cancer experience?
My grandparents had cancer but I don’t think I am particularly unusual to have that experience.
For me, I started by thinking “Oh I’d like to host a coffee morning for Macmillan. I can volunteer to do that”, and this kind of opened the door to a number of new volunteering opportunities.
People have come to see me as the Macmillan lady in Presteigne and come to find me.
I’ve met a lot of people this. I’ve felt part of the Macmillan family.
What qualities and skills do you need for this new volunteering role?
You need to be a good listener.
You need to be supportive – it’s not about you!
You need to be non-judgemental and respectful. If someone chooses to share their concerns with you – respect that. You are not there to offer opinions.
On the practical side you need to have some IT skills and have the time to give.
What do you get out of it?
I love the fact that I am helping people.
For that split second, someone is glad is that I am there and they can speak to me – for me that moment is priceless.
What would you tell people who are interested in volunteering?
I’d tell them just to get out there and do it!
There are lots of different ways that you can volunteer to support Macmillan in Wales that works with the interests and time that suits you. You can search for the Macmillan volunteering opportunities near you at our Volunteering Village on our website.