My name is Janine Middleton, I have been a volunteer with CSSC for two years and I am currently the Treasurer for Malvern and Worcester Area Association. I first came along to a meeting as an observer with the Secretary to see what it was like. I had worked for 35 years at HMRC and I felt lost, like I was drifting; I didn’t feel part of anything. I was given the role of Assistant Treasurer but I didn’t do anything, I sometimes felt out of my depth and didn’t know what I should be doing. However, I liked the people who were involved so I stayed with it, although I guess some people could have been put off. Then I began to get more involved and attended the 2015 National and Midlands Regional conferences and loved it! The conferences gave me a greater understanding of CSSC.
The first timers meeting at Conference is a really good idea, it makes you realise you are not alone. Everyone has made me feel so welcome and people are so approachable. It is lovely to feel part of something again, to feel part of an organisation.
In March 2016 I took over as area Treasurer. I love this role, it’s systematic and I like processes. I like to know what I’m doing and after an induction discussion with the Volunteer Support Advisor, Michelle, I was able to see my role, the Area Association and CSSC in context, which helped me understand even more and realise that we’re all working towards the same goal, to benefit the members. Shortly after I went to head office to take part in the Treasurer Training delivered by Alastair and his finance team. I was with other Treasurers and this has helped my confidence and I now feel comfortable to contact CSSC staff if I have any problems.
My volunteering has really had a positive impact on me. It has given me a purpose again; I am part of a structured framework.
When I first started I had no induction and I was in limbo. Things started to make sense when I started learning more about CSSC through the Conferences but they may be scary for new volunteers so an early induction is important so they know where they fit in and how it all fits together. I also feel it’s important that this is followed by training so that you know you are doing things correctly and it gives you chance to meet others who can help you so your volunteering isn’t disjointed.
It’s fair to say I feel I still have more to learn but I feel able to join in more. I am now excited about the future. I don’t want to let this go. It’s a worthwhile organisation, good for others, good for me.