5 Jun 2024

This week is Volunteer's Week which is a celebration of all the amazing work volunteers do throughout communities in the UK. As part of the celebrations we sat down with Kev to hear how he's given up some of his time to support others at CLIP's Chill, Chat and Connect group

Tell us a little bit about yourself 

I'm 52 years old and was born in Newcastle to a single parent. I have been a lifelong Newcastle United fan since I was three, Alan Shearer is my favourite player. I became my mum’s carer at the age of 16. I met my girlfriend when I was on holiday and I moved from Newcastle to Gainsborough with her. I like music and collecting DVDs, I have over 4000! 

Tell us about how you got into volunteering at Chill, Chat and Connect 

I go down to CLIP at The Bridge in Gainsborough on a Sunday for the community warm space and after a while and I started helping out there. I was later asked if I wanted to volunteer at Chill, Chat and Connect because I used to help get out the tables and chairs. 

How long have you been volunteering and what is your role? 

I have been volunteering at Chill, Chat and Connect since November 2023. I help put out the tables and chairs, I make teas and coffees and I take the register. I enjoy chatting to people that need someone to talk to. I've also been helping out at the Night Light Café and where I've been asked to offer peer support. At the end of the sessions I put everything back, help tidy the space and help with anything else that needs doing.  

What is the most rewarding thing about being a volunteer? 

Meeting people and helping them. Supporting people if they’ve had a bad day and sitting and chatting with them. Before volunteering I was a recluse for three years and one day in January 2020 I saw an advert for the Night Life Café. I decided to get sorted and get my life back together. I spotted the poster and went online and saw it was a place for people to chat and connect, since joining I've only missed one day.  

What advice would you give to anyone looking to volunteer? 

Give it a try and see if you like it, it can build up your self-confidence more by helping others. I started volunteering and you can’t keep me in the house now, I’m always out. Physically I am getting much fitter, I don’t get the bus and I walk everywhere which helps my mental health as well. My dog, Mini, has helped me get out the house a lot as well because I used to stay in and watch DVDs or get a takeaway. In the summer I take her for long walks, I love being outside. 

Lorraine Rooks, Trent Community Connector at Acis was full of praise for Kev, “Having Kev as a volunteer means I don't have to think about setting up and setting down the room. He's reliable, helpful and a valued member of the team.” 

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