Our Volunteer Stories: Finn, Shropshire Hills Group

Hi, my name is Finn and I have been asked a few questions about my involvement with Read Easy.
I’m part of the Read Easy Shropshire Hills group, which is now fully affiliated to Read Easy UK and since registration in early 2019, we already have Coaches and Readers!

I was interested in the scheme when I saw a leaflet on a notice board – it immediately connected with me and I knew I could dedicate some of my time to volunteering for it.  Initially I considered applying to be a Coach but, after meeting with some of the Pioneers of the scheme, I decided to join the Management Team instead.

Like so many Read Easy Volunteers around the country, I was sure there were people I could help in my community. From the outset I totally believed in the scheme and its approach.  I feel reading is an essential part of life and, learning to read, at any age, is achievable.

In the group I am a part of, Read Easy Shropshire Hills, we all believed from the outset that running the scheme was achievable. We are eight people from diverse backgrounds, all extremely busy with other work and voluntary commitments.  The area we cover is rural and we all live some distance from each other.  Communications and support of each other in our roles has been a key to our success to date.  Tapping into our individual skills we have, in a relatively short space of time, met the requirements to be affiliated to Read Easy, achieved initial funding, recruited and trained Coaches, and ran successful publicity and recruited Readers.  The response from the community is so encouraging and whilst there is no doubt that it’s been a busy few months, we have all gained from getting to know each other. News that we had found our first Reader and paired them with a Coach was extremely satisfying for all of us.

My primary role is to find suitable venues for Coaches and Readers to meet.  As we cover a vast area in the Shropshire hills, I have been seeking places in towns and villages that are not familiar to me, but most businesses that I approach seem to be very keen to offer spaces if they can. I also help support other team members with publicity and funding and organising events.

I find Volunteering to be a great way of being involved in something I believe benefits others.  Giving some of my time and using some of my skills is really satisfying and a very tangible way of supporting an essential charity.  I find I also learn new skills, meet new people and enjoy the commitment and satisfaction that comes with being part of a scheme and group that clearly makes a difference.

I would always encourage others to volunteer but it must be right for you. Deciding to take on a voluntary post doesn’t come lightly,  it needs to fit well within your capabilities and other commitments with work and family.  If the fit is right the rewards are extremely satisfying.

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