Can you tell us a little about you?
Married to David for nearly 21 years, I am a mother of 4. Three boys and a girl. Two of my sons are autistic. My main passions in life are art and design. I trained as a window dresser. I really enjoy creating anything from making haunted houses on Halloween to going Christmas bonkers and decorating my house! I have suffered with bipolar since a young age and have battled with long period of being depressed. After my last serious bout, I became agoraphobic. I would only got to relatives houses if I was with husband; it was a massive strain on everyone in the family. With depression, you distance yourself from friends, family and just live ‘day to day’.
Why did you decide to get involved?
I was scrolling down Facebook and I saw a post asking for volunteers at the Credu shop in Machynlleth. At first I wasn’t sure if I could get myself out there and “talk to strangers”; even being in a new environment seem so daunting to me. After worrying for a few hours, I took the plunge and sent a message to offer myself as a volunteer. I hoped that my training as a window dresser might help and give me an outlet to use my skills.
Did you feel that you were making a difference as a volunteer?
As soon as I began volunteering I felt I was making a difference. I knew everything from the sorting to the till work was all helping Credu create funds to support the many Carers we have even in the Bro Ddyfi area. As my confidence grew I noticed that every interaction with customers who were Carers made a difference. I could relate to people with caring responsibilities as I care for my two sons with autism.
What is your proudest moment?
I’ve had so many proud moments while I have been at Credu. Some as simple as designing a window for the summer carnival with all the amazing compliments from the public. Another was being the first port of call a lady made after her relative died knowing we were there to lend a shoulder to cry on. And of course, becoming the shop manager when 18 months ago I was unable to leave my home. I am now coming to work and feeling a valued member of staff here at Credu.
As well as making a difference for others has volunteering made a difference to you?
It has given me an inner strength I never knew I had. It isn’t plain sailing for me medically; I will always have to take care of myself, but if you had said two years ago that I would be running a shop, I would of never believed it. Credu has set me free and made me see what is achievable
What advice would you give to anyone else thinking about volunteering?
Do it by volunteering. No matter how little time you have, that time is valuable to the people who desperately rely on the generosity of volunteers to support their charities. Hopefully you will find your inner strength like I did and have the wonderful feeling of knowing you’re helping others.