Volunteering blog

This is a place where our fantastic volunteers can share their experiences and advice.

Volunteering can help you, as well as others, do and achieve more.

As you will see, you can develop existing skills, learn new ones and help to improve people’s lives – all while having fun and working where your skills are needed.

Katie Neil – Acting Locality Manager

Katie
Acting Locality Manager Katie shares her volunteering story

Dimensions volunteers often bring a fresh pair of eyes to everyday work, and help people we support to make friends and get involved in new activities.

Volunteering with Dimensions can also give you a taste of what it is like to work here and to support people with learning disabilities and autism.

Katie’s story shows how volunteering can be the first step in a successful career at Dimensions.

She first learned about Dimensions through her mother, who was a locality manager. Katie was only 14 but took an interest in her mother’s work and found it both interesting and rewarding.

She said: “The thought of helping others made me happy. I decided that I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps, but due to my age I couldn’t yet work, so I chose to start volunteering.

“First, I volunteered for a playscheme that provided short breaks for children with learning disabilities and/or autism. We supported the children with indoor activities such as arts and crafts, as well as going out on trips. We supported them to maintain relationships as well as with communication skills like Makaton.

“When I was 18 and at university, I saw an advert for a relief support worker in Dimensions. As I had gained loads of experience and knowledge from being a volunteer, I wanted to continue the work I had been doing. I found the job very rewarding. Two years later, a full-time position became available working with children with learning disabilities, in a Dimensions Buddies service. During this time I was able to complete my NVQ 3 for Children and Young People’s Workforce.

“When an opportunity arose for me to apply to become an Assistant Locality Manager in Essex supporting adults, I took it; and I was appointed in February 2017.

“In the last year and half I have been nominated for the Aspire career development programme, which I’m really enjoying and gaining lots of experience from. In November 2017 I was promoted into the role of Acting Locality Manager. I am hoping to secure this role going forward.

“My working life with Dimensions continues to be rewarding. I am absolutely committed to supporting all individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism, doing my utmost to ensure people live the life they choose, whatever their disability.

“I would encourage volunteering, because that’s where my passion for working in this field developed. It’s an opportunity to make sure this is the job for you.”