Helping out helps volunteers into work

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Two volunteers at a Richmond film, food and art tourist destination have used their experience to help them prepare for future employment.

Anneka Turner, 24, from Richmond, and Ian Titley, 53, from Darlington, both responded to a call for extra volunteers to help out at The Station, a move that has helped to secure new career opportunities for them both.

Anneka was unemployed after completing a Maths degree and to The Station to work as a volunteer on visitors’ reception. She went on to play an active role in the running of The Station’s summer art exhibition, InVisible, and is now about to help organise a children’s Halloween activity workshop in preparation for starting a teacher training course next year.

“The workshops are a great opportunity to develop relevant teaching skills,” said Anneka.

“The Station staff and other volunteers are so friendly and supportive and already I have learnt so much. I will definitely continue volunteering until my course starts next September.”

Meanwhile, Ian, a computer engineer who was also out of work, volunteered his specialist IT expertise to staff at The Station, doing regular volunteer shifts over the summer. He has since gone on to secure a full-time paid IT job with Orange in Darlington.

“There is no doubt helping out at The Station kept me in the right mindset for IT problem solving,” said Ian, who hopes to continue volunteering alongside his new job.

“When I first came to The Station I was unemployed so it really helped to give my day some structure and purpose. I enjoy meeting people and have had a great time helping out at weekend events such as the recent book fair.’

Volunteer Manager, Jackie Jefferson, said: “The Station is eternally grateful to the generous support of volunteers like Anneka and Ian. “We are a charitable trust and rely heavily on the goodwill of others.

“We have 70 part-time volunteers at present but there is always need for more.”

Volunteer jobs can include a range of tasks from reception and office duties, through to assisting in the art gallery, distributing leaflets within the community, and working on specific events. Specialist skills such as Ian’s IT expertise are useful, but not essential.

The Station offers food, film and art seven days a week and currently attracts 340,000 visitors a year.

“We could not run The Station without the kind efforts and commitment of our willing volunteers,” said Jackie

“We want people of all ages to come forward, from those seeking work experience through to retired people wanting to keep active.”

To find out how to become a volunteer to www.thestation.co.uk or phone Jackie Jefferson on 01748 850123.