It is Volunteers’ Week 1 – 7 June and we’re delighted to share a blog from our fabulous Volunteer Kim who joined us this year…
Thank you Kim for all you do for Include. You’re kind, hard working, brilliant at thinking on your feet and you make people feel included.
“My name is Kim, I’m turning 40 this year and I’m a single mum to 3 wonderful kids aged 17, 11 and 7.
Many years ago, I saw a sing and sign choir on the TV, and I found it so exciting and inspiring that I decided one day, when the time was right, I was going to be involved in something similar.
Then just a few months ago I came across Include.org on Facebook and decided to see if I could be involved somehow. My two main passions are music and inclusivity so Include was perfect for me.
My first impression when I came along to choir was that everyone was so welcoming and friendly and were all so happy to be there. It was incredibly well organised with a professional set up.
There is a role for everyone at Include, from refreshments, tech support, meet and greeting, one to one support, to setting up, handing out props and instruments, tidying up or just generally joining in and having fun. You can learn so many roles and skills.
The thing that has surprised me most about Include is that it is so much more than a choir. They put on social events, quiz nights, Stroll and Sign (wellbeing walks) and much more.
Not only that but they are true advocates for inclusivity and change. Attending NHS conferences and talking in public about making reasonable adjustments for adults with communication difficulties. They really inspire me to help bring that change!
When I tell people about the work I do with Include, it makes me feel excited to share the amazing work they do and I’m proud to be a part of it.
I love talking with the members and sharing experiences – I’m happy to say they have become my friends.
My favourite experience so far was with a member who was incredibly shy and nervous of me when we met on my first day. They didn’t want to talk or sign with me at all. But slowly over a few weeks they got to know me more and one evening came over to me on their own to say hello! My perseverance had paid off and they were now comfortable with me. Since then, we chat at every choir and have fun. I’m so happy to have made that connection.
One massive perk of volunteering with Include is the amount of Makaton you pick up along the way.
Learning signs of the week and joining in with choir, using the pictures of the signs on the projector to join in the songs. I’ve even used the Makaton signs that I’ve learned outside of Include, for example helping a lady order a coffee in McDonalds. The server was struggling to understand her speech and Makaton, but I recognised the sign for coffee and was able to help.
I love the fact that Include offers Makaton training and qualifications to their volunteers free of charge, as a thank you for everything. This means everyone can be a huge part of inclusive communication at Include and beyond.
My favourite song to see the members perform is ‘Let’s go fly a kite!’
The joy you can feel in the room when everyone is on their feet, swaying along, signing and singing at the top of their lungs, kite props flying above their heads, huge smiles on everyone’s faces. It really is wonderful to experience; they raise the roof!”
To volunteer with Include please email email@example.com
Communications and Partnerships Manager