Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi, I’m Nicola, The LIFE Foundation Manager, and I have been involved with LIFE for over 6 years now. After studying Neuroscience at Glasgow University, I worked with several national and independent charities, gaining skills in charity administration, accounts, training and Event Management. Alongside managing LIFE, I also run an out of hours childcare provision in a local primary school and provide interventions for children requiring additional educational or emotional support every afternoon.
I love my work, but my real reason for getting out of bed in the morning is my two amazing (and very loud) boys, Aiden, 8 and Dylan, 5 – and I can’t forget the 2 dogs, 3-legged hamster and 10 fish which all need breakfast!
Why did you join The LIFE Foundation?
I got involved when a friend asked me to help out with running a training event. Before I knew it, I was out in Romania playing with these gorgeous people who needed help. I stayed involved because I can see the difference we have and continue to make. It’s baby steps, but together, and with the huge help from our volunteers, we are getting there!
What does your role involve?
I manage the day to day running of the charity; finance, volunteer support, training, project development and most importantly I make sure there is coffee and biscuits for the committee meetings!
What’s the best part of your role?
I love the volunteer training days – there is such an amazing atmosphere and energy. So many inspirational people in one room with a common goal, it’s magical.
I’m also so grateful for the amazing Trustees and committee members; professionally I couldn’t do my job without their dedicated support, and personally I have made friends for life.
Any memorable moments?
There are many – some happy, some heart-breaking. The moment a child who tends to have very little interaction with anyone started to include me in his clapping game, dancing and twirling at the adult institution, and having my children help me to load up a van with lots of Christmas presents to be transported to the children and adults who would be so excited to receive them.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering with LIFE?
Do it. Do it next year, or 3 years down the line. Do it when the time is right for you. There are opportunities to make your placement as challenging as you are comfortable with (often driven by personal experience). The reward you feel from meeting these challenges, the personal development – that’s why it’s so amazing.
There are a lot of volunteering groups out there, some more ethical than others, sadly, ‘Volunteer Tourism’ has become a lucrative market for companies driven by profit. As a small charity, this is just not on our agenda. We are all extremely conscious that we have a responsibility to continually evaluate the work we do; its impact in both the short and long term and the strategies we use. Crucially, with LIFE, you can make a difference which is continually built upon – you can leave knowing that the project is sustainable and our work continues throughout the year.