I first heard about Sense from my dad who has volunteered with with the charity for years. He told me about how good they were and thought I should give it a go, so I did! That was around 2012, and since then I’ve volunteered on several Sense Holidays. I’ve been to lots of great places all over England with Sense – from little cottage holidays to activity centres and lots more.
A great way of making new friends and learning new skills
I’m currently doing my Masters in Writing Practice and Study, but still made the time to volunteer this year on a Sense Holiday. This holidays was at Chestnut Lodge, near Derbyshire, and I had yet another amazing experience. It was made even better by the group of holidaymakers, volunteers and leader I had around me. On this occasion, I supported two men with visual and hearing impairments, as well as some mobility issues. The two guys were a lot of fun to be around and were really laid back.
During the holiday, I helped my holidaymakers with their meals and guided them on our trips. Along with this, we supported each other as a team and gave a hand to anyone else who needed it with things like pushing wheelchairs, preparing meals and anything else that was needed.
Sense Holidays are a great way of trying new things, making new friends, learning new skills and doing something positive. For me, a Sense Holiday gives me the chance to do things I wouldn’t usually do, and to make someone’s holiday worth remembering – that’s why I’ve returned to them again and again.
I always look forward to volunteering on another Sense Holiday
I always leave a Sense Holiday looking forward to doing another. The holidays leave me with good memories and fantastic new friends who I stay in touch with. Before my last holiday, I knew little to no BSL, but with the help of the other volunteers and some very patient holidaymakers, I was able to pick up lots of signs and could communicate confidently with my holidaymakers.
If you’re thinking about volunteering for Sense then definitely give it a go. Sense Holidays are best enjoyed when you stay open to learning and doing new things that might be challenging at first. Sense are great at supporting volunteers to get through those tough bits and make you feel comfortable and confident with what you’re doing.
There are plenty of experienced people on hand to give you tips and advice. You can expect a lot of good materials and resources that let you know everything you need for volunteering. But the best way of preparing for a Sense Holiday is going along to a training day which has useful workshops and presentations about what it means to volunteer for Sense.
I look forward to doing another Sense Holiday again in the future, and if you’re thinking of volunteering, maybe I’ll see you there!
Want to volunteer on a Sense holiday? Visit the Sense website to find out how you can get involved.