Karen McIloney - Macmillan@WestLothian Volunteer & Outreach Volunteer
Karen's first volunteering role was with the Children's Panel in Edinburgh. She did this for 3 years but, unfortunately, when she started a new job she was unable to continue with the role.
Karen stopped working to have her family and when they were a bit older she started to look into getting back in to work. However, as she had been out of the job market for 13 years, she had totally lost her confidence and was very nervous about applying for jobs. As a result, she decided to look at volunteering opportunities in the hope that she would learn new skills and gain some confidence.
She saw the Advice Shop advert on Facebook for Outreach volunteers at St. John's hospital and decided to apply. Her application was successful and she completed her Induction training and has now been carrying out this role for 2 years. This involves promoting the services of the Advice Shop to visitors and staff in St. John's.
Karen completed a Counselling course and really enjoyed it and felt this was a field she would like to become involved in so in February 2019 Karen applied to Macmillan @ West Lothian to be an Information and Support volunteer as she felt this opportunity would give her the chance to put her new skills into practice. Her application was successful and she completed the 2 day training course along with another 9 potential volunteers. Karen said that she really enjoyed the training and the opportunity to shadow experienced volunteers as it prepared her well for the new role.
Karen now volunteers at St. John's once a week and also volunteers in one of the 5 West Lothian Macmillan hubs weekly. She is currently involved with the training for new volunteers in both services.
Karen said that her volunteering roles fit in well with her family life as both roles are very flexible. She also said that she feels part of the organisation, feels valued by the staff in the Advice Shop and Macmillan and, as a result of both roles, has found out about so many services available to people in the West Lothian area.
On a personal level Karen said that her self-confidence has improved and is now feeling more confident to apply for jobs. She has also realised that when she sets her mind to something, she can do it!