1st June to 7th June marks Volunteers’ Week. Our volunteer’s are very special to us so we thought now would be a good time to celebrate our very own Wendy, who back in November 2019 won VAI’s (Voluntary Action Islington) Volunteer of the Year in the 60+ category for her work with the Stress Project.
Wendy has volunteered for the Stress Project for 12 years as a mental health champion, therapist and communications and PR officer. She brings a combination of skills in business & therapy and personal experience of disability and depression.
Wendy’s journey with the Stress Project goes back even further. At first she was a service user accessing courses of low-cost Acupuncture. This inspired Wendy to train as an Indian Head Massage and Massage therapist and become a volunteer with us at the weekly drop-in - and later as part of our outreach scheme at the Mayton Street festival, Manor Gardens, Centre 404 & at the Arsenal Foundation’s Inclusion days for disabled Children.
Wendy’s therapeutic approach is about ‘giving with an open ear’, and in her own words; “I get energy by sharing, and I love the feeling of making people feel better, you can see it in their face almost immediately.”
In 2013, she was funded for 6 months by Vodafone World of Difference - who donated to Holloway Neighbourhood Group the same amount as she was paid – to work in a part-time capacity to improve our referrer network. This is work she continues to this day, being a superb ambassador while representing us at various network meetings such as with The Finsbury Park Women’s network, encourage disadvantaged women to develop their own businesses and engage in training opportunities such as sewing and dressmaking.
Although dealing with her own health issues and managing pain and disability, she has always supported us. Commuting is becoming extremely difficult for her and she has done remarkably well over the years. We’ve benefited greatly from Wendy’s skill, knowledge and the links she has developed with partnership organisations within the community – the contribution is invaluable to us and also to her own physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Our volunteers are the backbone and heart of our organisation and Wendy is an exemplary example of this. We are all so proud of her achievements – the fact that she won the award doesn’t change that. Thank you Wendy and congratulations.
To find out about volunteers week please visit: https://volunteersweek.org