This week's Volunteero of the Week is a bit of a celebrity around the office at VODA North Tyneside. Peter always applied his own touch of pizzaz to his reports in Volunteero. The folks at VODA inform me that his reports never fail to bring a smile to everyone in the office!
My chat with Peter was no exception, a charming and chatty gentleman, the conversation was longer than usual but I was certainly not complaining. Peter is retired, having worked in the gaming industry for most of his life, managing bingo halls and then progressing to run operations for a large casino group. Gambling wasn’t a passion of his, in fact, Peter never gambles. After all, the house always wins.
Peter is lazy… no that isn’t being rude, he told me this on numerous occasions during our chat. He had not intended on volunteering until his wife “bullied the hell out of me”. His wife is a bit of a model citizen herself volunteering for VODA, Age UK and acting as a school governor. He wasn’t getting out of this one.
This is just my opinion but I felt Peter played himself down. Since he has been up and running he finds himself often running around the supermarket with an assistant in tow getting all manner of items for those who are unable to shop for themselves. He described these interactions with the assistants as a “walk of shame” which gave me a chuckle.
Peter has now picked up various types of odd jobs for clients and noted that the thing that always jumps out to him is sheer gratitude. He told me that “sometimes the level of appreciation is wondrous. They cannot express enough how thankful they are” sometimes even trying to force money upon him, which needless to say he refuses graciously.
Since seeing this gratitude he finds himself picking up more and more. “I get to see all the missions and it’s kind of a guilt thing. Having got started, I saw things not getting picked up and felt I should go and do that.”
When I asked Peter what he takes from his volunteering experience, he echoed the comments made by many other volunteers we have spoken to. He said “we’re very fortunate, it’s humbling to see what people live through.” and that “you do get real satisfaction it is always appreciated and I'm always conscious to make sure I get exactly what they are after. The look of disappointment is too much to bear if you miss something.”
From a Volunteero perspective, we were excited to hear that the app was actually the driving factor in becoming a volunteer for VODA specifically. This was the only way he could volunteer flexibly and it allows him to dip in and out when he can. Peter said, “I am a sucker for an app”.
Well Peter, so are we… clearly!
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