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The Power of Volunteering

2 June 2021

Volunteers’ Week is the nation’s chance to celebrate the wonderful contribution that volunteers make. In this blog we chatted to our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Emma Goff, to find out more about what inspires her to do her role at Better Start Bradford and why she believes in the power of volunteering.

Emma’s role is to co-ordinate the recruitment, training, support and celebration of our wonderful volunteers here at Better Start Bradford.  She has a specific focus on working with our Community Champion volunteers. She also leads on our HEY! Fund.

Read on to find out how Emma has supported volunteers for the past 12 years, including people supporting those affected by the 2017 Manchester terror attack. Also, find out why she believes teleportation may not have the desired outcome she had hoped.

What was your first job?

My first ‘official’ job was as an administrator for Sure Start Shipley where I stayed for five years, becoming a Family Support Worker. I learned lots of great skills there, including how to manage when your mum is your boss! But if you want to know what my very first job was, I think it would be working as a Saturday girl in a local hairdresser. I realised very quickly that wasn’t the role for me!

What previous volunteer focused roles have you done? 

I have worked with volunteers for the past 12 years, the biggest chunk of that with a national charity that supports those affected by crime. It was a hugely rewarding role, with some truly amazing volunteers who supported people through some of the most difficult experiences of their lives, including the 2017 Manchester terror attack. I have also done bits and bobs of other work, including a role as Volunteer Coordinator for a local arts organisation who ran ‘Bradford Bubble Up Weekender’ – now that was a fun one.

If you had a super power what would it be and why?

Funny you should ask this one. I was talking to a friend about this just the other day and said that I’d like to be able to teleport. I don’t drive, so the idea of getting to places easily sounds great. But then I got a bit freaked out by the question, ‘are you really the same person at the other end?’ So on second thoughts, maybe I’ll stick to something more simple like flying.

Have you done any volunteering?

I really believe in the power of volunteering and that is as much true in my personal life as it is in my professional one. Most of my volunteering roles tend to be around health, including volunteering with my doctor’s surgery to have a say on issues which affect patients at a local level.

I am also Chair of the People’s Board which aims to influence Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commissioning decisions and service design and most importantly brings the perspective of the public and the views and experiences of local communities into decision making. #PeoplePower

Who would you invite for dinner – dead or alive?

My Grandma. Sadly, she passed away in 2018, but there’s so much I feel like I need to talk to her about!

What would you say to someone to encourage them to volunteer?

Volunteering is a wonderful way of giving back and using your free time to make a difference, but it also acts as a great stepping stone to gain experience, knowledge and skills for a future career.

Whatever your reasons, however much time you have to commit, there are volunteering roles for you. For our Community Champion volunteer roles here at Better Start Bradford, we don’t ask for any qualifications or previous experience (as we will provide this), all you need to bring is a real interest in improving the lives of expectant parents and families with children aged 0-3 years in our area.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

No, I don’t think I have.  I mustn’t be going to the right places!

What’s your favourite project at Better Start Bradford, and why?

Definitely all the ones that involve volunteers and have them at the heart of their work: Home-Start Better Start, Bradford Doulas, HENRY and the Perinatal Support Service.

Who had the most influence on you growing up?

My mum. Definitely. She is the person that taught me that there isn’t anything that isn’t achievable. No matter what the path, it is possible to get there. She inspires me every day.

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