What I have wanted to do all my life
This week’s blog posts are brought to you by volunteers who are supporting local play projects involved in the Free Time Consortium’s ‘Get Involved in Play’ programme funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund. We want to celebrate the amazing work done by the volunteers – children, parents and grandparents – who Love Outdoor Play. And, as this week is National Volunteer’s Week, what better opportunity to showcase their efforts and to say thank you. We hope you enjoy their stories and they motivate you to get involved in your local play project and support Love Outdoor Play!
I encountered Play Torbay via a mutual friend back in early 2008 – I was blown away instantly! At the time, I was recovering from an illness and any free activities for the only child who lived with me was Manah from Heaven!
Very soon after, I was volunteering for little things until I starting taking my daughter to Fort Apache on Saturdays and volunteering there. It followed that I volunteered to do any admin work in the office, first on an as and when basis, then once a week. By the end of last year it was a couple of days a week – I’m loving every minute of it!
The more training was offered to me, the more I wanted to learn and the more the passion for play grew. Training from fab people/organisations such as Playwork Partnerships, Gloucester University, Meynell Games Group, Di Murray.
When Play Torbay got Reaching Communities and Cabinet Office funding, I was asked if I wanted a two day week paid position which I was over the moon to accept, and is now 2.5 days as the Admin Communications Officer, plus a position as Playworker on Saturday mornings at Fort Apache. I still volunteer for Play Torbay for the rest of the week.
Personally for me and my daughter, it is quite impossible to explain the tremendous difference it has made in both our lives – and I am not referring to the monetary aspect. My daughter was a shy, quiet child who is now the most gregarious person on the planet; I had had a rough few years before Play Torbay and it gave me the inner boost I craved. I can tell you it has shown me – at the ripe ol’ age of (gulp) 48 (!), amongst thousands of other things, that this is what I have wanted to do all my life.
My daughter and I have the fullest lives you can imagine, she’s growing into a beautiful human being thanks to everything that surrounds her now, and I am overcoming a lot of not-so-positive personal things and yes, we’re happy! No matter how many hours I volunteer for Play Torbay from here on end, I shall never be able to repay my massive gratitude debt to the most fantastic organisation ever!
Carmen De Silva volunteers Play Torbay.