July 27th, 2017

Glen Barber lives in Stevenage and recently retired from his management role after 42 years. Here he tells us why volunteering is so important to his wellbeing.



What made you want to volunteer after retirement? What organisations are you currently volunteering for?

When I retired, I quickly found things very difficult having gone from a very busy work schedule to having a significant amount of free time. Pursuing my many hobbies, interests and travel activities were insufficient to fulfill me. I therefore decided to begin to actively seek volunteer roles. I am still in the process of developing my portfolio of volunteer positions, but at this stage I have a role on the 'Team Herts' volunteer panel which is a forum for individuals with specific expertise to give input and feedback on some of the initiatives that are being planned to increase volunteer participation. This is expanding into other areas for 'Team Herts'. I also have a regular volunteer position in helping to maintain the gardens of a local church. In addition I have applied for a volunteer position with Herts Constabulary to be involved on the Police interview panel to select and recruit Special constables. This role was feature on the 'Team Herts' web site and I have an interview for this position very shortly which I am excited about.

How did you find out more about volunteering locally? At first I found it extremely difficult to identify local volunteer opportunities as I had no previous experience or guidance in terms of how to find organisations looking for volunteers.  I looked at various web sites but often the roles were far away from my location and on many occasions required a detailed CV and intensive application process which I found to be onerous. In addition many of the roles  featured were not what I was looking for. I became quite frustrated. The breakthrough for me came when I found the 'Team Herts'  web site which featured an amazing number of locally based organisations looking for volunteers where the application process seemed to be fairly simple. I also signed up for the 'Team Herts' news letter and this featured the role on the volunteer panel which I now have. It also highlighted the Herts Constabulary role that I will be interviewed for shortly.      

Did you plan to volunteer in advance or did you decide to volunteer later on? I had always planned to carry out volunteer roles when I retired but had made no plans before my retirement date. The intention had been to spend the first year of my retirement on leisure activities before looking for a suitable volunteer role, but as already described I quickly found that I lacked fulfillment and a purpose in life. I therefore began to actively look for roles after 2 months of retirement. 

What were you looking for in terms of volunteering opportunities? What attracted you to volunteering?I wanted to build portfolio of volunteer roles to provide me with a sense of purpose, offer mental stimulation and give me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Volunteer positions also enable me to give something back to society using the skills that I developed throughout my career and in other areas. 

Would you encourage others to volunteer and if so why?  Sadly I hear so many retired people saying that they are bored and lack a purpose in life (I felt this during the first 2 months of leaving my full time job).  There are also a large number of my peers who are approaching retirement age who have concerns about their future, this really does not need to be the case. There are so many organisations that have stimulating volunteer positions available.  The 2 volunteer positions that I currently have in place (with more being developed) are extremely satisfying and give me great personal fulfillment. I can now see an exciting future through a perfectly balanced retirement whereby I have more time to spend with my family, the opportunity to pursue my hobbies combined with stimulating worthwhile volunteer roles. I therefore would have no hesitation in recommending other retirees or pending retirees to take up volunteer roles.

If you would be interested in volunteering for #TeamHerts Volunteering or for our Volunteer Engagement Panel then you can contact us via: enquiries@teamherts.org or call 01462 689 409.


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