In the spotlight: volunteer Liam Vernon

Liam Vernon, from Billingham, is only 23-years-old and is one of our young volunteers who successfully manages to fit volunteering around his work life.

Liam works full-time for the civil service but decided to apply to become a collections volunteer for GNAAS as he has a personal connection to the charity.

He said: “Having seen GNAAS in action after a serious accident and knowing that GNAAS has saved at least two of my colleagues lives it was a natural choice for me to support the charity in any way possible. When I found that they were recruiting for volunteers it didn’t take any thought for me to excitedly send an application in.”

“I’ve always been the type of person to try to help others, and the thought of working with other like-minded people really appealed to me. That coupled with the knowledge of how much GNAAS helps others really spurred me on to try to help the charity as best as I could.”

Liam is primarily involved with emptying charity collection tins at local businesses and dropping the money off at GNAAS. He’s only been volunteering with GNAAS since November 2018 but he has started to build a good rapport with local businesses and regularly chats with them to help raise awareness of GNAAS.

His role also provides him with the opportunity to get involved with other fundraising activities when he’s available.

He said: “My role within GNAAS is very flexible and Ben McWilliams, volunteer coordinator, is always checking in to make sure my voluntary duties are manageable.

The whole GNAAS team are very supportive too, if ever I feel like I’m behind I know other volunteers wouldn’t hesitate in helping get me back on track, but my work load is more than manageable.

I absolutely love doing what I do within GNAAS, so even when I’m out and about it never feels like work.

“Being only 23 there’s not many of my friends volunteering, instead preferring to take on paid overtime through their day jobs.

Within younger people there’s often the thought of “what do I get out of it?” and with volunteering there are no financial rewards, and this puts off a lot of my friends.

Whilst volunteering for GNAAS I have got to appreciate how many people the charity has helped, most people I come across at least know somebody who’s life has been changed by the charity, and who maybe wouldn’t be here today if GNAAS wasn’t around.

Sharing people’s experiences and listening first-hand to how grateful people are gives a truly strong sense of personal pride in playing a small part of the charity.

I know I’ve gained an incredible insight into people’s lives through GNAAS, and there is a true sense of community within the volunteers.

I would urge any young person to get involved in a charity close to their own values, the sense of worth far outweighs the small effort it takes to help.

There is a real sense of community amongst GNAAS, be it between volunteers, staff or the kind fundraisers and business owners who support the charity.

“Volunteering is also great for improving stress levels, by working a stressful job usually I really find that a bit of time spent collecting on behalf of the charity helps balance my stress levels, and really gives me a sense of personal satisfaction.

I would strongly urge anyone considering volunteering to bite the bullet and go for it, even just a couple of hours a month really benefits both you, the charity, and the people who rely on GNAAS when crisis strikes.”

Find out more about the volunteering roles available at GNAAS here:

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