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Rattling cans, Citizens Advice, and Christmas Carols

27 Mar 2017 - 13:05 by barkery.jammeh

Hello all,

We hope you had a great weekend and made the most of the beautiful sunshine!

Welcome back to our mini series of blogs from the team here at Macc. This series has allowed us to take a look back at our own careers and see the impact volunteering had on us and how it helped to shape and influence us later down the road.

In the series we have already heard from Claire Tomkinson and Nigel Rose and today's great story comes from Karen Dyson. Karen is the Organisational Development Worker at Macc and has been with us since August.

Karen Dyson:

I never did know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but, as for many other people in Macc, the experience I gained through volunteering continues to be really relevant and important in my work.

Although I did bits of volunteering whilst I was at university, such as rattling cans for charity collections and helping out at summer play schemes, my first regular volunteering came about as a result of going to the local Citizens Advice Bureau for housing advice after I graduated. As well as giving me advice, they signed me up for a volunteer induction session. After moving back to Birmingham a few weeks later, I completed my training at Birmingham City Centre bureau, and began volunteering for 4 days a week as a generalist adviser. I did this for about 8 months, with bits of temporary work in between, before getting a paid post working with what was then the Birmingham Settlement’s National Debtline service.



Advice work has featured throughout my career; I was Chief Officer of a Citizens Advice Bureau, and spent five years working in various roles for Manchester CAB. Before joining Macc I worked in the consultancy team of an organisation that supported Councils; my boss told me one of the reasons I got the job was he knew my advice work experience would mean I had a thorough approach and checked all my information properly!

I’ve also volunteered as a trustee. I spent several years as vice chair of a Council for Voluntary Services. Each of the trustees had an area of responsibility, and mine was the Volunteer Centre because of my previous volunteering experience. I was trustee for a theatre company as well, although my consultancy work involved a lot of travelling which made it very difficult for me to attend their meetings, and I felt like I wasn’t able to involve myself fully in their work because of this.

I still volunteer for one off events, such as the Missing People’s carol services at Christmas, take opportunities to do regular on-line volunteering, and take part in various musical events such as leading a community choir and running singing workshops. Who knows where else volunteering will take me!

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