Liz works as a school administrator in Tonbridge. She first heard about HOLG from a previous colleague who came to work with us. It was after she saw one of our social media posts recruiting for volunteers that she decided to offer her time to support us.
She tells us what she enjoys about her role:
1. When did you start volunteering for HOLG and why?
When my friend first told me about HOLG, I didn’t know there were charities out there that supported bereaved children and I was really interested. My parents died when I was a young adult, it’s hard enough to cope with grief at that age so I can’t imagine what it’s like for a child. I just thought it was a really important charity.
I started volunteering with them in May 2022. I was working at an insurance company at the time, which can be a little soulless, and I wanted to do something to give back.
2. What do you do for HOLG?
I didn’t feel I had the right skills to work directly with the children, but when I saw HOLG’s social media post saying they needed general assistance with jobs such as helping with catering, I thought that was something I could do. I’d volunteered previously for a local elderly persons’ group, cooking lunches at their monthly get-togethers in the village hall, and had really enjoyed it.
I work in the kitchen at the bereavement weekends, cooking the lunches and preparing the snacks for break and it’s a role that’s just as valued and helpful to HOLG as their other volunteers.
3. How did HOLG prepare you for the role?
I met with Caroline Norman, the Programme Assistant, and had a chat about what HOLG does and what happens at the weekends. We talked about what my skills were and what I would feel comfortable doing; I was happy to get involved in whatever would be suitable, and Caroline arranged my DBS check.
4. What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with HOLG?
It’s so lovely to see how their work impacts the children they help. You see a range of different emotions at the bereavement weekends, and you often see the children laughing and chatting with the team, which is really nice; you can see how much the team cares.
At lunchtime we all sit together, and the children might chat about school, or something outside of the weekend, so even though my role isn’t to support the children directly, I get to interact with them in a different way.
I like that I feel valued; all the volunteers do, which is lovely.
5. How much time do you give to HOLG?
I tend to work for whole weekends, which is all day on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Last year I helped at four of them. However much time you can give, HOLG is just happy for you to do what you can.
6. What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering?
I would say go along and talk to the team there, they’re really welcoming and friendly. Just go for it because it will be worthwhile and as well as what you give, you get so much out of it personally, it’s really rewarding.
It’s valuable to your own development too. HOLG might not seem an obvious choice if you haven’t worked with children before, but everyone has something to offer, and there are opportunities to learn new skills, so don’t be afraid to ask.
There are lots of different ways you can volunteer for HOLG; find out more here.