Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Boyles
For International Volunteers Day, we interviewed volunteer Jonathan who currently works in our Support and Information Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH). He told us about his motivation for volunteering and how the experience has helped to transform his life.
For the past ten months, Jonathan Boyles has been volunteering in the Big C Support and Information Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
As a Meet and Greet volunteer, Jonathan is one of the many friendly faces to greet anyone who walks through the door at the NNUH Centre, and he provides a listening ear and a cuppa to those who need it.
Jonathan’s initial motivation for volunteering was to improve his CV. However, now that he has been volunteering for several months, he states that the experience has opened up other opportunities for him.
He said: “Before volunteering, I had been out of work for a few years and was feeling depressed. I started to volunteer for Big C because I wanted to build up my CV. Since then, the experience has really changed me.
At first, I really lacked confidence. But because of how friendly the environment is at Big C and because of the support from the staff, I feel my life has transformed and I have confidence to do more things.”
Another motivation for volunteering was because Jonathan had an uncle who had passed away from cancer.
Jonathan had been disappointed in how his uncle had been treated during his diagnosis and wanted to work for an organisation that prevented others from being treated the same way.
He said: “Since I started coming here, I’ve realised how fortunate Norfolk is to have Big C. There are so many parts of the country that could use a similar service. And I’m happy I am making a difference here, too.”
One benefit for Jonathan since he started volunteering is that he has developed an interest in pursuing a career in the medical field. He said this is thanks to other volunteers and Big C staff who have motivated him.
Alongside volunteering, Jonathan attends City College Norwich once a week as he is studying to re-sit his English and Maths GCSE. Afterwards, he plans to enrol in a healthcare assistant course.
He said: “Ten months ago, I never thought I’d been in a position where I’m volunteering at Big C three times a week and also studying again. I feel I’ve got my life back on track and I’m feeling more confident about getting out there and trying new things.”
“I hope that if anyone who is in a similar situation to how I was, perhaps feeling a bit depressed, will come and volunteer at Big C because they’ll see how it’s really changed my life.”
When he isn’t volunteering or studying, Jonathan likes to read, watch films, hangout with his friends and work on his allotment. He is also applying for jobs in his spare time but is happy that he gets to volunteer in the Centre three times a week.
“I just want to say a big thank you to Jenny, Julian and the other Big C staff who have been really supportive and motivational over these past months. I also want to say thanks to the other volunteers who’ve been chatty and lovely.
“The Big C Centre has such a great atmosphere and whenever people leave they leave with a smile. It’s hard work building that reputation and it obviously comes from all the hard work of the staff and volunteers.”
If you’re interested in volunteering in a Big C Centre or charity shop, please visit our website for more details.