Jan enjoying her responsibilities at Our Special Friends

Jan and Frances at the Bury St Edmunds Volunteer Fayre

This month I have been volunteering for Our Special Friends for 3 years!  During this time, I have helped out with all kinds of admin tasks, initially within the office, once a week but during Covid times I have been able to work remotely, with the help of IT and have become quite adept at using zoom to chat with my OSF colleagues.

I first heard about OSF through Community Action Suffolk when I began the process of volunteering.  I knew that I wanted to volunteer, to give back to others some of my time and skills that I had learned during my time working for the NHS and for a local mental health charity.  It seemed to me to be a perfect match with my love of animals and my willingness to help others in need.  From the first phone call with Jane, volunteer manager at the time, to going into the office to meet Belinda and the rest of the team, I knew I had made the right decision. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

During the 3 years, I have got to grips with the database which is used to record numerous details and with the process of recruiting volunteers.  I have attended many of the training sessions which OSF put in place to offer that extra bit of help and expertise about anything from safeguarding, to dog walking to coping with pet bereavement.  There is always something new to learn! This is what I enjoy about volunteering – the opportunity to mix with like-minded people, to share in our achievements, to commiserate when things don’t always go according to plan but most of all to have fun whilst supporting others who need the help that ‘Our Special Friends’ can offer.

Volunteering has become part of my weekly routine now and provides me with a sense of purpose and wellbeing, knowing that my help is always appreciated and having made new friends and met lots of lovely owners’ animal friends.