Pat is our GMB Volunteer of the Year Award winner 2020. The award recognises volunteers who have proven themselves to be a role model to young people through one or more of our programmes over the past two years.
I have been volunteering for The Prince’s Trust Cymru for almost four years. I was working as a social worker when I made the decision to leave work and look after my mother and aunt.
My mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s and my aunt was experiencing issues with depression and bipolar disorder. I loved working, but I had to step down and put my family first. I couldn’t teach my kids good family values if I wasn’t acting upon them myself. I spent a portion of my working life as a social worker arranging packages to support carers, but until the need for a carer reached my own family, I never really understood the reality of the role. My caring role meant I needed to give up my career, and this left a big gap in my life.
Over the past three years, I have supported countless programmes, sessions and events; including mock interviews, CV writing sessions and Heaven’s Kitchen. Heaven’s Kitchen is a cooking session where young people come together to prepare a meal for senior figures in the local community. Most recently, I supported young people to prepare a meal for The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.
Supporting Heaven’s Kitchen made me realise that each young person has a different learning style. The skills I had gained from caring for my mother and my aunt really came into play on this course. It helped me to work at the young people’s pace, understand their struggles and connect on a level bespoke to each individual.
I am also a trained assessor on The Trust’s Development Award programme, which allows me to visit young people seeking to overcome financial barriers to education, training or employment.
I am keen to continue my journey with The Prince’s Trust and have recently become a member of the newly formed Volunteer Support Group. Working closely with five other volunteers, we hope to continue shaping the future of The Trust and influence more people with relevant skills to give their time to The Prince’s Trust across Wales.
The more I volunteer with The Prince's Trust Cymru the younger I feel!