How did you first become a CGL volunteer?
In 2009 I became a single parent when my wife passed away due to breast cancer. All our children had finished full time compulsory education and that is when I decided to start doing something for me.
Initailly I worked in a Titanic inspired museum which was only occupying my time. I decided to look for something where the organisation was aiming to make a difference. I came accross CGL through do-it.org, the volunteering opportunities website. I have been volunteering for Inspire since 2014, having started off as admin support. When the Nelson hub closed, I transferred to Burnley looking for a different challenge. I have found that by manning the needle exchange on a part time basis.
What does your role involve?
My main involvement in the service is through the needle exchange. Not just giving out clean needles and equipment, but talking to the service user about things like BBVs (blood borne viruses) and naloxone. Also I inform the service user about any known issues regarding the drug(s) they are using - if it is known that certain drugs are being added into the mix like fentanyl, or if strength and purity is greater than normal.
What do you like about volunteering with CGL?
I suffer from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and I have a criminal record. CGL and Inspire have looked beyong those issues.
Favourite things about volunteering? For me, working for an organisation that aims to make a difference to society. Also I like the flexibility and the chance to develop at my own pace.