Tucked away in central Oswestry is Designs in Mind, a vibrant, inspirational place where I choose to volunteer some of my time each week. In this studio is the belly of the beast where beautiful things happen. It is the nerve centre of a wonderful project that I first discovered ten years ago as a member.
Here I have learnt the art of listening and the value of shared experiences; and continue to learn what inspires me and how to inspire others. As I journeyed down my road to recovery I discovered that I wanted to give back to this community and support others who were experiencing similar things.
My role as a volunteer was born. I dedicate one day a week to giving back to this beating heart of the community. Though my desire to give back was originally born from altruism I have found the benefits of volunteering to be far reaching and continued my personal journey of self development.
The day of a volunteer often starts with a coffee and a chat with members and staff alike, a catch up and a check in. A morning meeting follows where we discuss the days focus- work for an upcoming deadline, artist collaborations, new workshops and you can be certain all this will be punctuated with the sound of laughter!
My involvements vary from week to week, no two weeks are the same and I love the unpredictable nature of working in close proximity to people in need of support, guidance or just a friendly ear. I could be helping make mosaics one week, to making tea and chatting with members the next week. Today I am gathering thoughts for a blog post and I am always picking up new skills and new experiences.
Through this role I have learnt flexibility, honed my listening skills and learnt the usefulness and healing ability of laughter and shared experiences. Here a problem shared really is a problem halved! A problem in life or a challenge set by the studio. I give just a handful of hours each week by rolling up my sleeves and mucking in, embracing life with a lightness that brings joy to each day. I can’t recommend this experience highly enough-it’s my social conscience at work and it feels great!