3 June 2020

This week is National Volunteer Week (1 June - 7 June) 2020, we spoke with Tom on his recent experience: 

Tom Abel.jpg

Meet Tom, he is a Visual Merchandising Manager, his daily job includes working on visual, design spaces such as window pop ups, working on creative ideas and sharing ideas for concepts.

Whilst being furloughed due to Covid-19, he registered to sign up as an NHS volunteer, when he didn’t hear anything back he reached out to CNWL.

He said: “Definitely being put on furlough and having that time made me want to sign up as a volunteer, especially with Covid-19 and the strain it was having on everyone and everything.

I think it was the clearest route to do what I could to help in that sense. I think as well for my own mental health, and keep proactive and doing something was important.”

Tom has been volunteering in the Riverside Centre based in Hillingdon with our Occupational Therapist team one day a week.

Once he completed training, Tom was spending up to two or three hour sessions with patients outdoors doing physical activities.

He said: “I found it much easier doing something and then being able to have a conversation with them. I think going in and finding someone to talk to was very beneficial.

 It was good for me to have just a bit of normality, on a personal note I think it’s incredibly self-rewarding in a way that you get to experience a whole new set of skills and meet a whole new group of people, and experts and that’s who you end up working with.

You’re working with experts who totally make you feel at ease, and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. The patients and the staff are so friendly, it’s a great way of meeting new people. When you do it, you feel good for doing it.”

Tom, who lives in Queen Park, has now returned back to his job as a Visual Merchandising Manager but is still keen to keep volunteering.

He said: “As long as I can keep it up, I will. I think people can get quite comfortable in their day to day lives and their jobs, especially if they tend to have a routine and it barely changes, I see it as quite a good challenge to go and do something else, and it was quite good to be taken out of my comfort zone a little bit.

 I was forced to try something else, and definitely to meet people, lots of different people from all different walks of life.”

Follow the hashtag #VolunteersWeek2020 on our Twitter, Instagram and Twitter @CNWLNHS