Volunteering at Night Light Can Change your Life!

by Pam Jenkinson – Night Light Project Worker

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, every volunteer gets something different from their volunteering experience. Whether this is by making a positive difference to people’s lives, improving their own self-esteem and wellbeing or gaining invaluable work experience. At the Night Light Cafes our volunteers all come from different backgrounds, life experiences and motives, each bringing a different flavour to the teams they work in. We value each and every one of them and are so grateful they willingly give up their time to support our guests who are struggling with their mental health.

We would love to introduce you to one of our amazing volunteers, Patrick.

Patrick was born in Ireland, moving to England in 1958. He then moved up to Lincoln in 2002 with his family. Patrick loves music and reading and used to play the piano accordion. Before his retirement, he had many careers including being in the RAF, working for a building company and a retail store.

Patrick heard about Night Light Café from the minister of the church he now volunteers at. He visited for the first time to see what it was all about and really felt he could make a difference. Patrick over the years has had his own personal experiences of bereavement, loneliness and also supporting someone with depression, so he felt he wanted to give back to others and could show empathy towards them.

“I love being a volunteer,” said Patrick enthusiastically. “I enjoy the company of the other volunteers, partaking in the games, jigsaw puzzles and general conversations. I enjoy meeting our guests and sitting alongside them to listen to their stories.”

Enquiring as to whether Patrick had experienced any positive encounters with our guests in the café, he told me about a time when he had the pleasure of chatting to a new guest who came to the café seeking support. “I really felt very comfortable talking to him. We just clicked and got on very well. The guest was able share with me his story and I listened to him. As he left, he told me it had been the best conversation he had ever had and was so overwhelmed by the welcome he received.”

I also asked Patrick what he would say to anyone thinking about volunteering at a Night Light Café and what they will get out it for themselves. Patrick said he loves feeling part of a team and he gets complete satisfaction knowing that he is making a difference to someone else. He also said how he has developed better communication skills since he started volunteering. “I never would have felt comfortable to do this interview a few months ago,” said Patrick. “But volunteering at Night Light has given me so much confidence. It’s life changing!”

If you would like to volunteer at one of our Night Light Cafés, please email us at nightlight@actstrust.org.uk or find out more on our social media page @nightlightcafelincoln or website https://www.actstrust.org.uk/night-light-cafes/

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