About a year ago, I began volunteering at the MS-UK’s wellness centre, Josephs Court. I joined the “Welcome Team” where my role is to support the Centre Staff and Wellness Coaches by helping to make the Centre a welcoming and supportive place for clients and visitors.
I had first come to Josephs Court at a friend’s recommendation. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2017, but I knew little about MS other than I had it and was overall not in a positive frame of mind.
I remember meeting Vicky and Alan at the introduction session. They were very friendly and explained what MS-UK and Josephs Court had to offer. They showed me a positive way forward that enabled me to begin to come to terms with my diagnosis and start to move on both physically and mentally.
Now that I am retired, volunteering has enabled me to get involved and support the unique work MS-UK undertakes. It has been every bit as rewarding and challenging as I expected, and I realise it has also given me a personal sense of belonging, purpose and focus.
What I enjoy the most about my volunteer role is interacting with others. Even if I only meet them occasionally for just an hour or two each week, I can see the tangible positive benefits people get by attending Josephs Court. I particularly enjoy the fun, social interaction, sense of support and companionship that benefits everyone who comes to Josephs Court. I find my involvement very rewarding.
The skill I have developed most from participating at Josephs Court is building empathy. I’m able to better relate to others, build relationships and support people to communicate and interact together.
Through volunteering, I have also personally benefited as it has helped me cope with my own MS challenges. I find that while at Josephs Court I meet people who are not defined by their MS and get to know them as individuals, their names, personalities, unique experiences and personal ambitions. They are great role models and their ability to share understanding and build on mutual experiences makes for an incredibly supportive and empowering environment which I am proud to be a part of.