Inspirational Stories

Police Support Volunteer- Deborah Lait

Company Director, Deborah Lait has been a Police Support Volunteer for the past 8 years, taking on a variety of different roles within the Constabulary.

Company Director, Deborah Lait has been a Police Support Volunteer for the past 8 years, taking on a variety of different roles within the Constabulary. As part of her volunteering, she assists with the training of new recruits in the form of a Role Player.

Deborah is our only individual who takes on the role of a victim of domestic and sexual abuse, sometimes sitting for up to 4 hours in the cold, wearing very little, to give as much credibility to the situation as possible. This is the only opportunity for new recruits to experience such sensitive situations. Feedback from trainees is always exceptional and they are extremely grateful for the opportunity that Deborah offers to experience such a delicate area of policing.

Deborah says “I first got into volunteering after watching a programme on the TV, where a guy gave up two hours a week to read the newspaper to a blind man. It made the blind man’s week. After seeing the way a person can improve another’s life with little effort, I couldn’t not do something. I started by working with adults with learning disabilities, moved on to adults with acquired brain injury and then following a fairly harrowing burglary at my home, became interested in the police.”

Alongside her role playing, Deborah is currently also volunteering within the Specials and Volunteers Team, playing an integral part of revitalising the Special Constabulary ‘Employer Supported Policing’ scheme. She contributes to the general running of the office and is considered a highly thought of member of the team.

Deborah adds, “ As well as the work mentioned above, I have volunteered at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, in the Martlesham Police Investigation Centre and had a brief spell working in the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.

I have to see that I am making a difference. I’ve always said I see volunteering as a very selfish thing, because I get so much out of it myself. I have to work very hard and very long hours to have the time to volunteer, but I do it because I love being part of a successful team who are making a difference to the community.”

Deborah’s commitment for the Organisation is exceptional; she has her own business and two young children, but still finds time to volunteer for us (even at weekends!)

Deborah is one in a very long line of well-respected and vital individuals who make up our volunteering Policing Family.

Suffolk Sport- Topleader - CJ's Story

CJ is a young sports leader as part of the Top Leader programme, find out what she loves about sport and volunteering 

Suffolk Sport Top Leader

The Shed- A view from an organisation

We are a Community Garden for all.  Located on Jarman’s Lane, West Row, Bury St Edmunds..  Our intention is to improve the health and well-being of anyone who is able to visit The Shed. We have a 1.5 acre site which is a blank canvass waiting to be nurtured by volunteers.

We are a Community Garden for all.  Located on Jarman’s Lane, West Row, Bury St Edmunds..  Our intention is to improve the health and well-being of anyone who is able to visit The Shed. We have a 1.5 acre site which is a blank canvass waiting to be nurtured by volunteers.

There is an ivy covered stable block, to be renovated for our community centre and storage.  We have been donated a poly-tunnel, greenhouse and potting shed.  All needing to be put together and sited. We hope to be a facility where anyone feels comfortable to come along.  Test out their gardening skills, either flowers or vegetables, fruit or wild-life.  Or, may prefer to have tea and cake and watch the world go by. Our Volunteers will assist the less able towards growing plants, they will keep the community garden safe and thriving.The Shed is not solely about gardening.  We require woodworking skills, mechanical skills, cooking and maintenance, craft and event skills

Physical activity is paramount to a healthy life-style and gardening can aid recovery of many physical issues.  It helps alleviate depression.  Loneliness and isolation.

We currnently have 10 volunteers at present – but in need of many more. Volunteers are the life-line of ensuring The Shed flourishes and reaches out to as many people as possible.

Our volunteers possess many skills to ensure The Shed operates for any and everyone and run entirely on the support of volunteers.  Not only those ensuring The Shed is open and accessible throughout the weekdays and weekends, but volunteers (or Friends of The Shed) will be encouraged to try out their fund-raising skills,  social event organising and listening skills for those in need of company.

Volunteers will acquire additional skill sets, ie  managerial, project management, team building, organisational skills, and more

No one person can manage the entire operation.  We need many hands to make light work.  Many skills to embrace craft skills and interesting areas of the garden, ie willow tunnels,  insect hotels,  pond life, etc.

 

We are always looking for more people to join us, so if you are looking for a new challenge why not try volunteering!

Special Constable- Ellie Goldsmith

Special Constable Ellie Goldsmith has been with Suffolk Special Constabulary since April 2015. She is based within the Neighbourhood Response Team in Lowestoft, and will assist other areas when deployed to do so. 

Special Constable Ellie Goldsmith has been with Suffolk Special Constabulary since April 2015. She is based within the Neighbourhood Response Team in Lowestoft, and will assist other areas when deployed to do so. She is an extremely well thought of member of the team and has received recognition from the Constabulary for the work she has done.
Ellie says, “I wanted to volunteer for the Constabulary as I wanted to be doing something different and exciting and a challenge for myself. Having known people who volunteered, it sounded like an experience like no other. You learn skills you can apply to everyday life.”
Ellie is like many other Special Constables, whereby she has a full time job and so is only able to commit to duties at evenings or weekends. She is able to respond to urgent requests for assistance if something happens in the county and provides at least 16 hours per month of operational duty.
“I have gained more skills and experience than I could ever imagine. I was never very good at talking to people before I joined the Specials, and now I will talk to anyone! Community engagement is my favourite part of the job, as everyone is individual and has their own story to tell. Being in the Specials has taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I would never have believed anyone who told me 5 years ago that I would now be a volunteer Police Officer!”
When asked if Ellie would recommend volunteering for the Constabulary—”Yes, 100%! I have always been supported through every step taken in my policing career and received numerous welfare checks after attending sensitive jobs. There is such variety to the role and I have learnt skills and had experiences that I would never have previously thought about. I feel that I can deal with situations better and I am the most confident I have ever been. Wherever my career takes me, being a Special Constable will be an experience that I will never forget.”

Hospice Neighbour Coordinator- St Nicholas Hospice

The role of Volunteer Coordinator fits perfectly into my life, I find it helps keep things in perspective!

Hospice Neighbours is a community-based and volunteer-led project that provides companionship and practical support to people living with life-shortening conditions & has 140 volunteers dived into 15 groups across West Suffolk & Thetford..

The role of Volunteer Coordinator fits perfectly into my life, I find it helps keep things in perspective. I am able to work from home, which is ideal for me and I run regular support meetings with my team of volunteers where we benefit from getting together, sharing experiences and supporting each other. The service Hospice Neighbours offers brings the role of "neighbour" back to how it used to be - close communities who look after each other and are there for one another in a time of need.

I personally gain a lot from being involved in Hospice Neighbours and have met so many amazing people. I truly believe the idea of being able to provide support and companionship - a cup of tea and a friendly chat - for people suffering from chronic illness or nearing end of life, in their own home, is something really special and I'm very proud to be involved in such an organisation.

Police Support Volunteer- Ros Griffin

Ros Griffin, has been volunteering for the Constabulary since summer 2015. As a Volunteer on Horseback she is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the countryside, and as a Role Player she assists in the training of student officers, providing real life scenarios and preparing them for active duty.

Police Support Volunteer Ros Griffin, has been volunteering for the Constabulary since summer 2015. As a Volunteer on Horseback she is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the countryside, and as a Role Player she assists in the training of student officers, providing real life scenarios and preparing them for active duty.

Ros states that she first wanted to volunteer for the Constabulary “because I want to see the law upheld in Suffolk. I believe we all have some responsibility to contribute to the well being of our communities. I am an extra pair of eyes and have familiarity of the area, noticing when things are ‘not quite right’ or there is suspicious activity.”

 

Ros balances her home life with volunteering as a role player. These are often full days at Headquarters, doing a variety of different tasks and taking on different pseudonyms.

Ros believes that she has gained skills in observation and patience whilst volunteering for the Constabulary; “I look at a situation from a different perspective and I am more aware of things that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. I am also able to see things over hedges and fields from being up so high. When out riding, other members of the public are very interested and are pleased we are there being another crime prevention method”.

Ros says she has always done some kind of voluntary work, but “volunteering with the Police has been my most interesting and fulfilling role to date. I feel as though I am part of the policing family”.

The Mix- "Drop In" Volunteer Della Reed

I wanted to help young people in my community to feel valued and encourage them to be themsleves. I volunteer at the "Drop In" and assist with the photograpgy group twice a week which I am able to fit in with my 2 jobs.

I volunteer at the "Drop In" and assist with the photograpgy group twice a week which I am able to fit in with my 2 jobs.

I wanted to help young people in my community to feel valued and encourage them to be themsleves. To help them explore creative interests and inspire them to follow their dreams. Also to become socially aware of their own community whilst learning anf having fun together to build their confidence and to go on to inspire those around them

Volunteering has changed my life! It's been great getting to know the young people and build relationships. They inspire me abd seeing how The Mix changes young people's lives for the better. I have learnt alot, from listening to people and safeguarding. 

Suffolk Sport- Topleader - Theo's Story

Follow Thoe's Story about his experience of volunteering for the Suffolk Saxon's Badminton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egKUDAIyxB4

Police Support Volunteer -Jenifer

Jenifer has been volunteering for Suffolk Constabulary at Sudbury Police Station, monitoring CCTV, since December 2009. 

Jenifer has been volunteering for Suffolk Constabulary at Sudbury Police Station, monitoring CCTV, since December 2009. She is part of a well established and brilliant team of volunteers who monitor; pubs, clubs, streets and premises; searching for vulnerable people reported missing; identifying vulnerable people; highlighting suspicious/dangerous or violent behaviour; looking out for drink/dangerous driving and acting as an additional ‘eye’ for officers at incidents for their safety.

Jenifer says, “On reaching retirement, I wanted to be useful to society rather than just looking for something new to do. I saw an advertisement in a local paper for recruits to train for CCTV for the police and knew that was what I wanted to do. I could repay and support the efforts of police officers and be of use to the police and the wider community.”

When Jenifer first joined the scheme, she was doing 3 or 4 late shifts each month, either a Friday or Saturday night, 8pm—4am. In the past couple of years, Jenifer has reduced this to 2 night shifts per month and in addition some day shifts on Saturday mornings. “My husband is also a volunteer and we work the same shifts together. Being retired we have time to fit this in with our home and family commitments”.

Jenifer feels that she has gained many skills from volunteering, “The practice of using the camera and radio has sharpened my skills of listening, observation and description. I have gained knowledge of the legislation required governing the use of cameras and I know a lot more about the streets of the town now.

Being a volunteer is a great experience. The officers accept us as team members and show patience and appreciation for what we do. We are valued and supported at several levels and feel part of the policing family. I have been able to meet new people, take on new challenges and learn new skills. I have complete satisfaction from being part of something that is worthwhile”.

Hub Volunteer- The Befriending Scheme -Laura

Laura, 25 has volunteered with The Befriending Scheme for 3 years, starting at our Sudbury Hub as a Hub volunteer and helping our members to enjoy activities. Laura found that she had a natural affinity for our members via a family member with a disability and found that volunteering helped her to build her confidence. 

Laura hit it off immediately with one of our members, and became a One To One Befriender, helping her link to enjoy social activities, with shopping and helping to build social skills. They have become firm friends and have had a massive positive impact on each other. Laura has also become a fundraiser, taking part in The Great East Swim and holding bake sales with her brother, Steven.

Laura's valuable contributions saw her named our Young Volunteer of The Year in 2015 and she continues to be a great friend to all our members.

When asked why Befriending is important and valuable as a form of volunteering, Laura said:-

 "What kind of life is it not to have a friend to talk to and confide in?... It helped me so much to hear the stories of my link and the people at the hub...putting a smile on someone’s face helps them keep on fighting."

This has held true for Laura herself, the support network built through her volunteering has helped her overcome challenges in her own life, showing that volunteering is about receiving just as much as giving.