Why I Decided to Volunteer for Dandelion Time by Jayne Charlton

1: How did you first get involved with Dandelion Time and how long have you volunteered with us?  

I first became a volunteer at Dandelion Time five years ago as a volunteer support worker to the family group sessions. I originally volunteered to wash up paint pots etc. and generally help the staff at Dandelion to make their job easier by tidying up and making cups of tea for parent & carers. I had worked with children all my working life.

2: What do you do as a volunteer? Describe a typical session!

A typical session currently is cooking with the Children, although I have also been a support worker, helped in the garden, worked in the charity shop and cared for the animals! The children have usually chosen what they would like to make and I liase with the staff about what ingredients are required.

The families are always delighted with their achievements and lots of discussion takes place from the colour of the yolks of the eggs to the smell of the herbs from the garden. The families always have a taste of their baking and take it home afterwards.

3: What special skills (or powers!) do you need to do that role?

What special skills are required is a difficult one to answer, but obviously in my current role, you have to have an understanding of basic cooking skills and certainly time management! Also whatever you do as a volunteer you need to enjoy! Also most essentially an interest and belief in Dandelion Time.

4: What have been the highlights for you?

One of my highlights was working with a young boy who had experienced lots of trauma in his young life. He said very little to anyone in the session although this was improving as his confidence grew.

At Christmas we all went to choose the tree, he was apprehensive, but enjoyed the experience. He hadn’t seen a real one before.

As soon as we arrived back at Dandelion the decorations were put out and the children given a free rein to decorate the tree and put up decorations. It was as if a switch had been turned on, he was decorating the tree very tastefully and humming. It was a joy to see.

5: Any funny moments?

One funny moment was Woody, the donkey, stole my herbs from my bucket that Michelle wanted me to plant (she had warned me the donkeys would eat anything!) He then proceeded to burp and the smell of the Thyme was amazing! I went back later to make sure he was still alive!!

6: Would you recommend volunteering at Dandelion Time and why?

I would strongly recommend Dandelion, the staff are amazing and so grateful for whatever you offer as a volunteer.

I have witnessed the difference the family group sessions make to several children and young people. You then appreciate the need for the animals, the space and the garden. Even just observing the children find an egg in the hen house is rewarding.

The charity shop was very rewarding and I throughly enjoyed working alongside other volunteers!

Do you want to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children? Are you looking to give something back to your local Community? Then come and volunteer for us at Dandelion Time! We would love to hear from you! Learn more