After a bad personal experience of employment my volunteering activity at Sheffield CIL has given me time to rethink and reassess what I want to do with my life. A combination of counselling, volunteering and medication has helped me through this difficult period. I have been able to regain my self-confidence and trust in others and this has improved my self esteem I feel that there was a lack of knowledge about Asperger Syndrome (AS ) and Autism where I was previously employed .If I had received the motivational support and confidence building that I have been given here as a volunteer at Sheffield CIL I may have been able to continue in my job. I am now much more self-confident about my own ability to make decisions. In the past I have felt pressurised by my family to make certain decisions and I have now discovered that what I want to do in life is different. I can be in control of my own life and have my own views. I feel much more positive about my life and the future.
Volunteering with SCIL was a rewarding experience. All the staff and volunteers were very friendly and welcoming and I was made to feel part of the team from day one. SCIL does some excellent work in providing information and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and it was good to be able to contribute and use my skills on their behalf. I learned a lot during my time with SCIL about disabled people’s rights, inclusion and personal budgeting. I was given the opportunity to attend courses and meetings and find out about issues and barriers I was previously unaware of. I also learned new skills such as putting items onto the website and helping set up a resource pack and sorting out files and information sheets. I have definitely used the skills I learned at SCIL in my new job that I am now doing. Volunteering is a great way of meeting new people, broadening your knowledge and experience and showing potential employers that you have used your time constructively. It also stops you getting bored and stuck in a rut. SCIL ticked all those boxes for me and I will always remember my time with them fondly.
As a female on the autism spectrum, voluntary work has helped me to progress my interaction with people in the wider public since my diagnosis five years ago. I have had to overcome years of alienation in settings of that nature due to misunderstandings of communication and behaviour. Working as a volunteer is a personal challenge and a chance to prove my worth.
Volunteering with Disability Sheffield has given me a real insight into the problems facing people with disabilities” “ It has been very rewarding to see how much some of my fellow volunteers have gained in confidence and ability, which has enabled them to move on into education and work
Sometimes I have needed to take long periods of absence from volunteering at SCIL because my illness has flared up. I feel it’s a good illustration of SCIL’s flexibility, understanding and empathy that they have always welcomed me back with open arms and done their best to accommodate me.
I really enjoy volunteering with Disability Sheffield Information Service. From day one I was made to feel welcome and part of the team. The training and support offered has been excellent. I’ve volunteered for other local organisations but Disability Sheffield has been the most supportive and organised in their approach to volunteer induction. Volunteering with Disability Sheffield is helping me learn more about disability and independent living. This will be very useful when I qualify as an Occupational Therapist.