June 1st, 2017

Nina Guppy, winner of the #TeamHerts Flexible Volunteering Award, and a Volunteer for the Sea Cadets in Rickmansworth and Watford, tells us why volunteering means so much to her and her family


  1. Why did you decide to volunteer for the Sea Cadets and what made you want to volunteer? I always like to get involved in the activities that my children are doing and help out in some way if I can as it means that I get to spend time with them doing things that they enjoy and it also helps as clubs etc are always short on volunteers and it is my way of giving back a bit.  I agreed to join the Unit Management Committee as a new Parent rep was needed and it gave me a chance to see how the Sea Cadets worked without committing to a role straight away. I then said that I would become a Unit Assistant as well so that I could help out as and when required and from there the Sea Cadets enabled me to go on a few courses as I had always wanted to learn to sail and kayak and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to find out a bit more about Sea Cadets and so that I would have more of an idea what my children were talking about. Things have snowballed from there and I am now doing my Basic Expedition Leader (BEL) qualification so that I will be able to help take the cadets out on Adventurous Training (AT) weekends. 


  1. What do you like most about volunteering for this organization?

I love volunteering for Sea Cadets as I can see the opportunities and experiences that they get can make such a difference to their outlook on life and the opportunities that they never realised were there.  It literally can be life changing for them.  I also love that as a staff member, we also get to try out new things, gain qualifications and experience new things alongside the cadets. 


  1. What skills do you think you need to be a volunteer?

I think that as a volunteer you need to be open-minded, flexible in your approach to things and want to help others, whether you get something back or not, as the something you most often get back is the knowledge that you made a difference and that's all that matters.


  1. Do you balance other commitments in life alongside your volunteering and how do you balance this?

I am a busy Mum of 3 and a wife and have an almost full time job - I work with adults with learning disabilities as a support worker, so some of my days are quite long, which means that I need to be very organised.  Some days I need to plan several days in advance (thank goodness for supermarket home deliveries!). My children are becoming better at cooking for themselves, now know how to operate the washing machine and the ironing skills they have learnt at Sea Cadets have been very useful. 


  1. What would be your advice to anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer?

If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer, think about the things that you enjoy doing or think about the skills you can offer and see if you can find something that involves that.  Do some research to see what the commitment will be and see if you can spend a bit of time watching what goes on before you decide if it's for you or not.  There are so many opportunities out there, that you will find the volunteering role that suits you, it might just take a bit of time and effort to find it and remember, it doesn't matter if you can only give 1/2 hour once a week or if you can give all day every day, the organisation will be thankful for any time you give.


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