Sabrina’s Story: “Without volunteering, I never would have thought about a career in the charity sector. Now I’m here and I absolutely love it.”

Before Covid-19 struck, I was working as a project manager at a kitchen company, covering for someone who was on long-term sickness. In April 2020, after the person returned to work and Covid-19 had fully gripped the UK, the company decided it couldn’t keep us both. My contract ended and I was out of work.

I found it hard. It was a mental struggle as I had no routine. I looked for jobs, but companies were inundated and there was nothing available. I needed something to keep myself going. At first, I completed some online courses, then I started looking for volunteering roles. I found Hestia by chance, and the charity was looking for someone to make masks.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, I made almost 600 masks for Hestia’s service users.

While making masks, other volunteering opportunities started to crop up. I joined Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response team, working with them to shortlist candidates applying to become Modern Slavery Advocates. Then I joined Hestia’s Approved Premises, editing the CV writing resources that they use to help ex-offenders find work. Then I joined the mental health teams in Kensington and Chelsea, helping to recruit fellow volunteers.

Hestia Sabrina volunteering


Before Hestia, I’d never done any volunteering before. I felt like I was doing something valuable with my time and using my skills to help other people. It was lovely to feel appreciated, too – I was nominated for a volunteering award for my work.

In March 2021, a paid role came up in the volunteering team. I became the team’s Administrator and have been in the role for nearly a year. The role is busy and varied. I work with Hestia’s services to create new volunteering roles on a daily basis, as well as attending volunteer forums, service user fayres and university volunteering fayres to recruit new volunteers. This week, I’ll be on a University panel discussion, talking about what it’s like to volunteer at Hestia.

I love the team I’m in. We often catch up and check in on each other. We care about each other’s well-being - I’ve never worked in a team where I’ve felt so supported.

I also get to work with service users who have decided to take their first step into volunteering. That is always a wonderful feeling. Recently one service user got in touch with me to volunteer and she successfully secured two volunteering roles. Another service user who was feeling anxious and distressed was at a service user fayre and I informed her about the other service user who had been successful in gaining volunteering roles to try and give her some motivation. She then took her first step in contacting me.

Some of these people might feel like there is no way out of how they’re feeling, but I think little things like this can give them hope and show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Volunteering and then working at Hestia has been a life learning curve. I now appreciate what people are enduring here in London. I’ve attended courses and training on everything from domestic abuse to modern slavery, and it’s opened my eyes to things I never would have thought are happening. It’s made me more compassionate and empathetic for people and their individual circumstances.

Without volunteering, I never would have thought about a career in the charity sector. Now I’m here, and I absolutely love what I do. It brings me so much joy.

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