I am a volunteer - and I’m proud of it

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In response to Paul Okey’s comment (Courier sport December 19).From my personal experience, I think volunteers are at the heart of everyday life and always have been, so if they want to stand up and shout up and be counted then let that be their prerogative. It may inspire others to volunteer too!

I totally agree that people have been volunteering forever in many capacities as it states in Paul’s article. It is great though to see a new generation of volunteers. Young people generally get a lot of bad press, but I know of so many young people that volunteer, some because they genuinely want to help and others just for the experience and to add to their CV, but they are there, they are helping and in turn this helps others.

I have been volunteering in several capacities for many, many years, from being a blood donor, to raising money for charity, looking after the Pool Bikes at work, to being the secretary on the school PTA, helping with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, volunteering as a junior squash coach for in excess of 13 years now, plus all the sporting events that I have been lucky to volunteer at.

Volunteering takes a lot of time, effort, money, dedication, motivation and commitment along with a family that supports you to take time out in doing these things, whether it is shaking tins in a supermarket collecting money for charity, helping neighbours with lifts and shopping, volunteering at your local hospital, art gallery, museum or library or indeed being part of the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or Tour de France or listening to children read at school and so on...

Everyone volunteers for different reasons. For some it is an opportunity to meet other people, some use it as a distraction to deal with loss and bereavement, for others it is because they want to help deliver an event or help others to achieve their dreams and ambitions...lots of people do what they can, when they can, where they can, for who they can.

Whatever the reason, it shouldn’t matter. But a little recognition does go a long way and I would suggest that most of the volunteers I know in my community, at my squash club, at work and at the many sporting events that I have been at, do not do it for either recognition or to get something back except satisfaction.

When I am volunteering (usually at sporting events), I use it as an opportunity to promote sport in general, healthy living, promoting young motivated athletes and squash. If that is seen as ‘look at me, look at me, I’m volunteering’, in some people eyes, and if it offends, then I can only apologise as that is not the intention.

Alison Insley, Kenilworth