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31 year old, Ellie, lives in Renton and has been volunteering at Robin House in Balloch for just over a year.

We caught up with her to find out what being a volunteer means to her and hear about her experiences with CHAS.

Hi Ellie, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Ellie and I'm a volunteer with CHAS. As well as volunteering, I like going out with my friends and playing my PlayStation. I also like watching movies and love doing arts and crafts and computer stuff.

What made you want to become a volunteer with CHAS?

I had a friend that was supported by Robin House before she died and I wanted to be in her favourite place to help keep her memory alive.

Before you came to volunteer with CHAS did you look at other organisations to volunteer with?

No because I knew it was wheelchair accessible in Robin House. I've got cerebral palsy and so it can be a struggle just finding a space that is suitable for my wheelchair.

Do you find it frustrating that other organisations aren't accessible?

Yeah, it can get really frustrating with accessing stuff like that. Even sometimes in Robin House, I can have trouble getting through doors and I have to rely on people to help me, which I don't like.

How often do you volunteer?

Once a week, sometimes twice depending on what's going on. I also help in the fundraising team so I do bucket collections and things like that.

What different volunteer roles do you have?

I like to help out in the garden when it's nice weather. I help Nicola, the Volunteering Development Manager at Robin House and I do the bucket collections and stalls when I can.

How did you find it becoming a volunteer with CHAS?

It took a wee while but once I got in and got settled it was fine because I was a bit apprehensive about coming back in after everything happened with my friend. I was a bit emotional but I seem to have, not got over that, but thought I need to get on with things.

Have CHAS staff been supportive?

Yes, they've been great, especially Nicola, she's been great at getting all the equipment I need and things.

The benefits I get are a social life, it gets me motivated to actually want to do something and I like to help.


What does being a volunteer mean to you?

It means more independence, because I've got somewhere I can get to easily and I've got a reason to get up and go, that kind of thing. It also gives me a social life as well because I'm making friends. It just gives me a purpose and saves me staring at four walls.

Do you have any memorable moments or unexpected benefits of volunteering?

I've made a good friend in Rachel - she's a volunteer that works in the garden. She's one of my good friends and I've made lots of other friends as well.

Any funny stories or incidents?

Me and Rachel singing when we are doing our crafts and my chair getting covered in paint!

What do you think is one of the best things about volunteering with CHAS?

The benefits I get are a social life, it gets me motivated to actually want to do something and I like to help.

Is there anything you would like to change?

I'd like to improve some of the access issues in Robin House. When I'm sitting at a computer desk, I have to sit side on because I can't sit underneath. A rise and fall desk would make such a big difference.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering?

With CHAS I would say go for it! Robin House is a happy place with sad times, just go for it.

Is there anything else you want to add?

I just love volunteering at CHAS.

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