“My children see me helping those in need”

When Leanne Wood’s job as a teaching assistant reduced to two days a month because of the pandemic, she decided to look for voluntary work in her local community. Leanne, a Bolton at Home tenant who lives with her husband and four children, wanted to support others during lockdown while still being able to manage a busy family life.

Leanne found the perfect opportunity with Bolton Community and Voluntary Services (Bolton CVS). Here she tells us more about the role and what’s inspired her to continue even when she’s back at work full-time.

“I work as a teaching assistant in a local primary school. After my hours dropped to two days a month to support children of key workers, I decided to look for voluntary work.”

Giving back

“As a working family, we’re usually so busy with our own lives to think about others in need. Having time off made me take stock and think about what I could do to give back to my community during these difficult times.”

Going online to look for opportunities, Leanne noticed that Bolton CVS was looking for Urgent Response Volunteers. “The role suited what I could do as I don’t have a car,” says Leanne. “So I filled in the online form, had an interview by video conference and, after the usual checks, I was accepted as a volunteer.

“I’m now doing the weekly shop for two vulnerable people, one who lives in Deane and one in Morris Green. Neither have family close by to help them so it gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’m making things easier for them, and they’re both very grateful for it.”

“Having time off made me take stock and think about what I could do to give back to my community during these difficult times.”

Self-esteem boost

As well as supporting others, Leanne says the role has given her a boost too. She adds: “There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone at the moment. It’s very rewarding to come home knowing that I’ve helped someone. I feel good about myself and my children see me helping those in need which is a good lesson for them.

“I’ve already decided that I’ll carry on in this role when I go back to work full-time. I realise how lucky I am to have family close by who would come and help me if I needed them, but some people don’t have that.

“The community in Bolton is really pulling together, with people supporting their neighbours and being kind to one another. That has to be the one good thing to come out of this pandemic; let’s hope it continues.”

We’d like to thank Leanne, all our other tenants and residents, and our colleagues, who’ve been part of the humanitarian response to support people in Bolton through the pandemic. Thank you so much for what you continue to do and how you’re helping local organisations within the Bolton Family to get food supplies to vulnerable people and those who would be otherwise struggling to get their shopping due to shielding and self-isolating.

Bolton at Home is part of the co-ordinated approach in Bolton to getting people the help they need. We’re working with a wide range of partners in the community such as Bolton Council, local health services, charities, volunteers and faith groups, to help more people access a range of support with food, prescriptions, counselling, mental health support and other needs.

If Leanne and others have inspired you and you’re interested in volunteering with Bolton CVS, visit their website at: www.boltoncvs.org.uk You’ll also find other opportunities locally at: www.bolton.gov.uk/community-advice-grants/volunteering-bolton

If you have a story to share, please email news@boltonathome.org.uk