Martha is a 21 year old student who works part-time and who was looking to boost her experience by volunteering with children. She began her befriending role with Aberlour Outreach – Dundee at the end of 2016:
“I was looking for a different experience and the befriending role really appealed to me. It felt a bit more personal to get to know a child one-to-one. It was something I was passionate about through my course so it fitted with my interests and studies.”
In her volunteering, Martha began befriending a 10-year old girl:
“I remember right at the beginning, we made a list of the things she would like to do. I like to include her interests in the activities, she’s quite involved in picking what we do. She’s very passionate about animals so we go to Monifieth Pet Shop – there’s a parrot there that dances! She’s also very arty so we keep a scrap book of the adventures we go on and colour it in. She calls it the bubble-book because she puts bubbles on everything. It’s nice for her to have something to keep and look over.
“I enjoy the relationship I have with my befriendee, it’s so nice to be able to see a child develop. I’ve been in her life for a long time now so I can really see it. The experience of working with her has made me more confident in working with children – seeing a child develop is incredibly rewarding.”
Martha has also developed a great relationship with the rest of the family:
“I am now very aware that the befriending is not just for the child’s benefit, but for her mum too. It is nice for her mum to have a wee while every week that is structured and time for herself. I’ve built up a good relationship with her brother too, I look forward to seeing them all.
“I would really recommend others to consider volunteering, the environment of Aberlour is very friendly and welcoming. Aberlour is a very organised charity and is the perfect combination of very structured and organised, whist being incredibly accommodating to students. I’ve been really grateful for this as I can get stressed around exam time. I enjoy that you can try different roles, and the training and support kept my interest. I’ve made friends with other volunteers and I feel that I can approach any member of staff.”
Aberlour Services – Dumfries and Galloway