What’s it like being a volunteer Social Buddy?

Holly and Harish out with Go Anywhere, Do AnythingHolly has been volunteering with Share's Go Anywhere, Do Anything project since July this year, and has been reflecting on the first few months going out and about in London with Share students. Here's what she has to say about her time with us.

What inspired you to give up your time to get involved with Share's ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ project?

I don't see it as 'giving up time'. It's a valuable and enjoyable way to spend time! I had just moved to London and was looking to meet new people. Back in New Zealand, as a journalism student, I met with a group called StarJam in which people with learning disabilities take singing and dancing classes. From that experience, I decided I wanted to spend time volunteering. I found The Go Anywhere Do Anything project online on TeamLondon and after reading the description, I already had a few reasons to sign up: 

  • We'd get to take people with learning disabilities out to fun events in London and build friendships 
  • We could make friends with other volunteers 
  • We'd get to attend awesome activities in London 

All this and all at the same time!

You’ve supported us at five events since July. How would you summarise your experience so far?

Harish dancingAbsolutely fantastic! My first event was a music festival and we had a great time dancing to bands. Since then I've been to a BBQ, bowling, club night and Kew Gardens. The best part of these events is getting to know the members and it's always nice to see some of the same faces at each event, so we can get to know each other. Meeting new members is great too!  Some highlights have been getting bowling tips from students, watching Harish dance at the club night – who then inspired us all to dance like no one was watching, chatting to Joyce on our walks home and meeting loads of people at the BBQ.

What are your hopes for the future, as you continue to be involved with the project?

I would love to keep attending 'Go Anywhere, Do Anything' events as long as I can. I can see this project really growing with many more volunteers and perhaps more students signing on. I hope it will continue to encourage new friendships and support networks. In future, I'd be keen to assist Share in other ways as Share staff have made me feel like a valued part of this community.

If you could give one piece of advice for a new Social Buddy coming on board, what would it be?

Don't worry if you feel a bit shy at first or are unsure what you should say to members. A lot of them are shy too, so just strike up a conversation and you'll find things in common together. We can learn heaps by listening and being there for them. Everyone at Share is really fun to be around and you'll feel very welcomed! I'd also say start clearing your social calendar because you'll want to come along to lots of events!