Some of our volunteers experiences, in their own words.

Feedback from a Student Social Worker on Placement with POhWER

My passion has always been to support and to improve peoples' quality of life, primarily those who are vulnerable and in need of specialist protection and support in society; assisting them to live more successively within their local community and helping them to find solutions to their problems. Without a doubt, POhWER Advocacy has provided me with that opportunity. The opportunity to carry out my first-year placement at POhWER has been an incredible avenue for me to learn and practice. A learning experience that completely exceeded my expectations of what I thought I would learn during my placement.

In the beginning, I felt stretched and challenged and sometimes wondered how I was going to meet all the necessary requirements to pass my placement, but with quality training, advice and supervision in a safe and supportive environment, one skill built on another, my confidence started to improve. I was given the flexibility to develop my skills in an independent manner, and as part of an incredible team that I will forever be grateful to. I have had the opportunity to grow both as an individual and as a future social worker under the special guardianship of a brilliant Supervisor and a great team of Advocates. POhWER has developed my confidence and prepared me for what is to come; I have been equipped with skills necessary to enter the next phase of my learning as a competent student social worker.

In short, my placement at POhWER has been a great learning opportunity; a huge period of professional and personal growth. I feel so privileged to have had this opportunity to be extended and to learn that, regardless of whom we are, every single member of our society deserves to be heard. And it has been a great honor to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and at the same time giving further support to those who can speak for themselves.

Finally, while I feel some sadness that my placement is coming to an end and that I am about to depart my role of Community Advocate. I am looking forward to embracing my next challenge, knowing full well that I have acquired the necessary skills to develop in my personal and professional life. The wonderful advocates have been very thoughtful towards my learning and opened up so many learning opportunities. Their continual support and encouragement have helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and to try new things. It has been a pleasure to be included as part of this great team of Advocates to share knowledge and experiences. - Akpoveta L. Emunefe

Saskia's StorySaskia

I have been doing my work experience at HertsHelp for POhWER in Stevenage. I come in every Thursday and Friday and I have been enjoying it very much, all the staff here are lovely and make sure that I feel welcomed every time I come in. There is such a nice atmosphere in the office which makes me feel very comfortable when I’m here.

When I first started here I was trained to do different kinds of referrals, I thought that it would be hard but everyone here helped me and made sure that I wasn’t just left on my own. I now feel very confident in everything that I do here and if I have a question, I’m not afraid to ask someone.

Thanks to POhWER, I now know what I want to do when I finish sixth form.

Helen's Story

Helen, Information and Advice Support Worker in HertsHelpI was made redundant from my last job and with two small children I was struggling to find paid employment that was flexible enough to meet the demands of my family.  After 3 years out of work, my confidence dropped and I was worried I would lose some of the IT and communication skills I previously used regularly.

A friend had seen an advert and encouraged me to volunteer for POhWER, so after meeting with the team I agreed to attend 3 mornings a week volunteering in the HertsHelp hub. Although I was very nervous, they made me feel so welcome and put me at ease straight away. I leant lots about the different services offered and felt I was really contributing to the support of people accessing HertsHelp and my colleagues.

After 6 months volunteering with POhWER, a vacancy came up in the HertsHelp team and I was successful in achieving a paid role.   I know there’s never any guarantees of a paid job when you volunteer, but the skills, knowledge and experience I gained were key in boosting my confidence and bringing my working practices up to date

Whatever the reasons, I would really recommend volunteering with POhWER.

Feedback from our longest serving Volunteer, Alex Maher, who had been with us for 4 years

Alex Maher at the Volunteer Awards 2015I have enjoyed every moment with POhWER from day one and the amazing experience that I have had from it. It has opened my eyes to a lot of things and has been a new learning curve in my career working with the people I have been able to have the pleasure to work with.

I'm sad to have to say goodbye as the longest running volunteer. But I don't want to commit and let clients down where I cannot make - as my work is keeping me busy and on my toes.

I'm happy to say my brother is keeping the POhWER chain going as he is currently volunteering. I will continue to keep an eye on updates from you guys and how you are progressing as this organisation has been a big part of my life for the last 5 years.

I want to thank you especially for all the help and support you have given me through my time with POhWER. Audrey and Lynne have also been very good support for me, especially where I was learning the ropes before I could be given my own client. Without all 3 of your help, I would not have been the citizen advocate volunteer I have become.

I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me over the years. Thank you for an amazing eye opening experience and opportunity to work with some incredible people.

I hope that my experience with you has been beneficial for both yourself and the clients. I wish you all the best for the future with POhWER.

Read more inspiring stories here.