Volunteer Case Study - March 2019

The following is a case study of one of our volunteers who joined our Community Green Team. The case study highlights the positive impact that volunteering has had in their life. 

Our volunteer had an ‘average’ childhood, and grew up in a family unit that consisted of them and their mother.  After completing their secondary school education they followed their passion and commenced a degree at a local College.  Places within the course are awarded based upon merit, with an automatic elimination process at the end of each year.  Our volunteer struggled to keep up with the expectations of the course and by the end of the second year they had been asked to leave the course.

“By the end of second year I felt burnout and spiteful.  I felt the whole process [further education elimination] had been detrimental to my mental health and I really needed a period of reflection and recovery.”

Through local connections they were put in contact with a local organisation who found an apprenticeship for them.  The place was full time, and although very grateful for the opportunity, they felt overwhelmed by the time commitment and the expectations of their employer.  They realised that as a result of the paid employment their mental health was deteriorating even further, they reluctantly gave up the apprenticeship.  At this point they started to become more withdrawn from the community as they had little reason to leave their home or indeed to get up in the morning.

“November to January was the lowest bit of my life so far.”

Concerned with their wellbeing, the local organisation talked with them about volunteering within the community, however they had no idea what they might want to do or how they could go about getting started.  The local organisation introduced them to Glasgow Eco Trust and the Community Green Team.  The Volunteer Coordinator met them on two occasions to discuss what their needs and expectations were; it was evident that they would be well suited to working with our team at the De’ils on Wheels community bike workshop and organised a site visit.  They started volunteering in January, and has committed to four hours, once a week.  They have not missed a single session over the past three months.

“…[I chose to start volunteering at the workshop]…as it was interesting, I could learn new skills, the people seemed nice and the fact that they were happy for me to commit to no more than four hours, one day a week made it feel manageable.”

“…[Volunteering at Glasgow Eco Trust has]…made me a happier person; I realise that my uni work is not the only thing in life and I love having something to get up for; I look forward to it every week.”

They are now looking for part-time paid work, and they are also applying to re-join the College course, however they are certain that they are going back to it a stronger person more able to cope with the whole process and hopes to be able to continue volunteering with Glasgow Eco Trust regardless of what the future holds.

“I’ve learned to put life in context and I feel better able to cope with University.”

Their improved mental health has had a positive impact on them,

“My life seems to be getting back on track…[and]...I’m so much happier now.”

As well as a positive impact on their family,

“My mum is happy that I’m not down so much and that I’ve got a better idea of what I want to do with my life.”