Helen, Conor and Judith are all part of Passion for Learning’s talented volunteer team – and supporting their community brings different benefits for each of them.
Passion for Learning recruits adults from all walks of life who could use their experiences, enthusiasm and skills to help children struggling to read and learn.
While Passion for Learning was formed in 2011 and has now been delivering valuable services for nearly a decade, it has had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, moving sessions online and finding new ways of helping children.
After volunteering at Passion for Learning over the last four years, Helen is currently studying at Glyndwr University in Wrexham and embarking on a career in counselling.
“I was thinking about going into counselling and this was a great way of exploring whether that’s what I really wanted to do.
“I’m now in my second year at university and volunteering at Passion for Learning has really helped me build my confidence.
“I’ve worked with children who have had attachment issues and then moved to secondary schools. Passion for Learning usually supports primary school children, but we’ve worked with the children and secondary school to continue offering our services.
“Having that familiar face and consistency is so important to the children. It’s very rewarding to see them graduate from Passion for Learning and no longer need your support.”
18-year-old Conor, who started supporting Passion for Learning last October, is volunteering for the first time since he left school.
He said: “I’m currently on a gap year and I can’t travel abroad so I decided to volunteer and support my local community.
“Diane Clark from Passion for Learning visited my school a couple of years ago so I decided to contact them and I’ve been helping in a number of different ways.
“I’ve done virtual, one-to-one sessions with primary school students, giving them a boost with reading and maths, taken part in the pen pal project and helped pack enrichment bags during the circuit breaker lockdown.
“The difference you can make by giving just an hour of your time each week is truly phenomenal. I’ve been able to fit volunteering around my schedule, helping out when it’s best for me and giving extra time during lockdowns when I haven’t had much else on.
Judith is one of Passion for Learning’s long-standing volunteers, having support many different children as a volunteer over the last eight years.
She said: “The best thing about volunteering at Passion for Learning is knowing that the children are genuinely pleased to see you rather than it simply being something they need to do, as well as seeing them develop.
“It’s good to see Passion for Learning adapting during the pandemic because I’ve witnessed how important the services are to the children.
“The team at Passion for Learning is fantastic, offering so much support to volunteers and children, and it’s been great to be involved for so long.”
Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) is running a volunteering campaign throughout 2021, looking at the range of opportunities and the many benefits volunteering can bring.