What it’s like being a member and volunteer for North Lanarkshire Disability Forum
Hi, my name is Catrina Bryce and I have been a volunteer for North Lanarkshire Disability Forum since 2016 and a member since 2021
Why I got involved as a volunteer
Like most 21-year-olds I wanted to explore the big world, I made sure that having Cerebral Palsy did not stop me follow my dreams and goals in life and made me more determined to not stop until I achieved those. I wanted to raise awareness as a volunteer to highlight that if you are passionate and determined enough you can reach your goals in life.
I was excited to find a volunteering opportunity where I could relate and share experiences with others, but also an opportunity where I could develop new skills and knowledge to help me in my future career.
My role as a volunteer
I was contacted through Voluntary Action of North Lanarkshire (VANL) with a position within North Lanarkshire Disability Forum to work as a volunteer for 6 months. Lorraine and Fiona made me feel so comfortable and welcome from my very first day. At every stage I was strongly supported and given proper workload and responsibilities that I was comfortable with until I learned my new role. My role consisted of admin support, making appointments, signposting, attending different events, and networking with other organisations.
I was delighted after 6 months to learn that funding had been secured to enable me to stay another 2 years. This funding also allowed me to study my SVQ Level 3 in Business studies. Again, I had great support during this learning time from Lorraine to help me manage my time due to my workload and studying.
Skills that I have learned/developed
As a volunteer with NLDF I learnt how to effectively work with others to organise lots of people and information, how to keep effective records so that all the information is written down and stored correctly, how to manage my time with work and study and my personal life. Even although I see myself as a social butterfly, my communication skills were developed and I became more confident around others to use my own initiative, all these skills have enhanced my employability skills.
What I would you say to anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer
Go for it! It is fine if you do not already have any skills as you can learn these things while doing it, it is important to put yourself out there to gain valuable skills either for personal development or to gain experience…. meeting new people and making valuable friendships is another amazing reason!
Where I am now
In 2019 I left as a volunteer to be part of Inclusion Scotland where I gained an apprenticeship with Social Security Scotland, this position involved supplying admin support to team members and managers and learning about different benefits and help within that sector, this experience again allowed me to gain more transferable skills to follow my passions.
Now at 26 years old I am delighted to say that I have been accepted to train in a career in Early Learning and Childcare with a modern apprenticeship. I have also come back part time as a volunteer to NLDF to assist one of the team Pauline with her new outdoor chat information events I cannot
seem to keep away!!
So …..then I also became a member
NLDF launched their new website and reshaped their membership to enable people with experiences and interests in disability issues like myself to be able to have their input and share their experiences. Members of NLDF will receive
- up to date information about things happening within the community
- monthly newsletters
- links to NLDF social media pages and interaction with other related pages
- and a shiny new member badge!
It’s easy and free to sign up.
My life Quotes
What’s for you won’t go past you!
Always dream big! 🙂