Rebecca Cooper, winner of Volunteer of the Year at the SU Awards 2019, shares how it felt to win this award.
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How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Year?
Wow! This is such an amazing award to win through doing something that I love. I never imagined I would be in the running for ‘Volunteer of the Year’. I feel so honoured to be awarded this. I volunteer because I love helping others and to be recognised in this way is absolutely wonderful. When I found out, I didn’t know what to say, it was a total shock!
What’s the most inspirational thing about volunteering?
Volunteering enables me to help those who are less fortunate than myself or who are in real need of help and assistance. To be the person there when someone needs it the most is an incredible feeling… Knowing you have been a made a difference to someone’s life! You never know when you may need someone and to be able to pay it forward and assist others in this way is gratifying.
How has volunteering changed you as a person?
Volunteering has given me the opportunity to assist people in their hour of need and has made me incredibly grateful for the life I have. I have attended patients from being only days old up to 107 years old and speaking with these patients has really given me perspective. I am more thoughtful of other people’s needs and appreciate what I have and what I am able to do for others.
What skills have you developed through volunteering?
Through volunteering, I have qualified as a Level 3 First Responder and have developed a number of skills through my work. I am able to think fast and make quick decisions when it is required during an emergency, skills that I can apply to other aspects of my life. I have also developed patience and excellent listening skills. This role allows me to gather information and relay the most important content to ambulance crews when they arrive. My role has given me the opportunity to enhanced my administrative skills, through chairing meetings, organising training sessions and liaising with outside organisations. All incredibly valuable attributes to take into any employment!
What’s the best thing about being a volunteer?
The best thing about volunteering is meeting so many new people from so many different walks of life. The friends I have gathered and experiences we have shared will never be forgotten. We feel like a family and I know I can rely on every single one my fellow volunteers. Knowing I have potentially made a difference to someone’s life at the end of a shift gives me a feeling of achievement and leaves me eager to start my next shift!
Finally, what would you say to anyone considering becoming a volunteer?
Definitely do it! You will honestly learn so many new skills that will assist you throughout your life. The people you meet will leave a mark on your life that you will never forget. Once you get a taste for it, you will not want to stop. What better way to end a day than knowing you have made a positive difference to someone else’s life? The memories you make will be stay with you forever.