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Niamh - Kitchen Volunteer & Letter Writer

Niamh started volunteering for CHAS in 2019 as a kitchen volunteer at Rachel House.

During the pandemic, Niamh has volunteered as a letter writer and sends regular letters to two young people who are supported by CHAS.

Niamh who is 16 lives in Kinnesswood, she started volunteering for CHAS in 2019 in Rachel House as a kitchen volunteer. During the pandemic she started volunteering as a letter writer. Niamh sends regular letters to two young people who are supported by CHAS. We had a chat with Niamh to get her perspective on what it’s like being a young volunteer and to find out more about her experiences at CHAS.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in and spent the first 10 years of life in a nice village called Markinch in Fife. I now live in a village called Kinnesswood that is about 10 minutes for Kinross. I like spending time with my friends and family, walking my dogs, skiing in the winter and watching films.

How and when did you start volunteering with CHAS?

I really wanted to help out at a local charity and contribute to making people’s lives a bit easier, I also thought it would be a good opportunity to gain experience for future jobs. Before coronavirus, I would normally volunteer in the kitchen at Rachel House where I would help prepare meals, serve food and clean up the kitchen and dining room.

Have you volunteered during the pandemic? If so, what does this look like?

Yes, I have really enjoyed writing and sending letters to the siblings of CHAS patients during the pandemic. It’s fun coming up with different topics to write about and print off activity sheets each month.

In what ways has being a young person yourself helped when creating these letters?

I think that being a young person myself has helped me come up with ideas of what to write about as I am aware of some of the current interests that the children I write to may have and I think back to when I was their age to come up with things I would have found interesting myself.

Have you received any replies to the letters you’ve sent?

I have received a couple of replies which was really heart-warming as I enjoyed hearing about what they have been up to and it gave me inspiration of what to write about next.

Have you found that there any unexpected benefits to volunteering with CHAS?

When I was able to volunteer in the kitchen, I really looked forward to it each fortnight as everyone I worked with was very nice. I found it good to spend a few hours every second week doing something helpful for the community.

Volunteering has also been a good way to get a break from my schoolwork, especially during the pandemic when it has mainly been online. It’s nice to have some time away from studying to write these letters.

When you think about your volunteering with CHAS is there a specific story you can tell that sums up your experience?

At Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive a lovely Christmas card from one of the children that I write to. I thought it was a really kind gesture and it was great to hear how much they liked my letters.

What 3 words would you use to sum up CHAS?

Welcoming, friendly and inclusive.

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