I have done a huge variety of different jobs for the charity, including admin work such as database entry and shredding (I recently rescued an old £10 note from a pile of 2014 paperwork destined for the shredder!); creating display boards for events; putting fundraising packs together; and helping out at events. I even walk the office dog!
Ten years ago, I could never have imagined attending events and helping with fundraising, but now I really enjoy it. It’s only been in the last few years that I can interact with people more and can hold a conversation whereas when I was at school I couldn't empathise with people and was quite reserved.
Volunteering at Brain Tumour Support makes me feel very grateful to be doing something so rewarding and helping other people whether it’s in the office or at fundraising events.
While some of the jobs I do may seem small, when you add up the number of hours I have saved the charity, it actually makes a big difference. I feel I am appreciated and I feel I have improved my interpersonal skills by working in a calm, relaxed office environment. Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work - I am hoping that the new skills I have learned will help me find employment.
My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering is: do it! It’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do. Giving up your own time to help other people is so satisfying.
I have Asperger’s Syndrome and started volunteering for Brain Tumour Support in 2011 – just a few hours per week. I wanted to volunteer as a lot of people have said to me it’s great to have the experience on your CV and employers will see you are helping in the local community.