Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories

To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Sau Pang
Head of Digital Delivery

Here, Gareth Milner tells us about his time as a volunteer…

I currently undertake moderation of the online ‘forum/message board’ at TheSite.org, an extremely valuable online resource for those aged 16-25, run by the charity YouthNet. I first started as a user of YouthNet’s services and subsequently developed into a volunteer.

My involvement with YouthNet began over 10 years ago. I’ve known and seen many staff come and go, yet there has always been dedication amongst them all – past and present – to provide sheer excellence in terms of supporting young people in a modern and fast moving society.

In the past I have used holiday time from work – I’m a soon to be former soldier – to help out at YouthNet’s office in central London, in addition to volunteering in a virtual online capacity. During my volunteering I’ve assisted with various working groups and projects to improve and develop services provided by YouthNet.

During a quiet period of downtime in 2012, I was even able to moderate the community message boards from a laptop in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

YouthNet and its services helped me when I needed support, the peer based support element is invaluable. TheSite isn’t just about solving problems or issues people feel they have, there are also several fact sheets and information pages.

I continue helping as a volunteer to improve and advance the work that YouthNet undertake with TheSite, primarily because I recognise the value that YouthNet and TheSite provides young people.

In an increasingly interconnected world, online peer support and advice is paramount to enable young people to find the help they need and want. The commitment of YouthNet’s core staff combined with the enthusiasm of its army of volunteers provides something akin to magic.

Whilst I can only speak with authority about my own experiences, volunteering with YouthNet – to me – is about giving something back to help that magic continue. For volunteers within this fine organisation, it’s hard to feel anything other than a sense of selfless commitment towards a charity investing so heavily in the future of a generation.

Our thanks to Gareth for his blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch via [email protected]




Published on 02-Jun-2014