Name: Carlo McNicholl
Volunteer Role: Group Facilitator Ballymoney / Volunteer within Woodvale
Inspire Service: Woodvale CWS, Ballymena
Tell us about your volunteering role?
Co-facilitator / Helper. I’m here to help and support both staff and service users alike. I facilitate a Gamers / Anime group in Ballymoney once a week and then spend Thursday at Woodvale CWS in Ballymena, helping staff with the groups that are held there that day.
What benefits have you experienced personally from volunteering?
Personally from my volunteering it has been beneficial as it helps me get out and about in the community. I enjoy helping others and have found great solace in doing so as it gives me a reason to keep going when times are tough.
Do you have any stories that you would like to share about your volunteering, from those you have engaged with? i.e. making a significant difference
I originally started with Niamh, in their North East Service, as a member, I was quiet and backwards and didn’t find it easy to communicate. When I started I joined a cooking group, as it didn’t have many members and I didn’t have to take part if I didn’t feel like it. Over my time within the group, the facilitator got to know my interests and suggested that I could volunteer to help out with a computer group. I wasn’t sure at the time but I thought about it and when I had built up enough confidence I decided that I’d give it a go. This was one of my best decisions since I became mentally ill as it gave me an opportunity to give back but also have support I needed to keep giving. Since then I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but there has always been one constant in all of my trials and tribulations. I could give back and try and help others not feel like I do sometimes, yes I am sick, I have conditions, but I’m still me outside of everything and I want others to feel the same about themselves.
Would you recommend volunteering with Inspire to others? If yes, why?
I would recommend giving back as much as you can because helping others is a worthwhile way of spending your time and thankfully with Inspire they give you all the support you may need to do this.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Do your best to smile even when times are tough because that smile might save you but it can always help another!
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