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This Volunteers Week; Autism East Midlands would like to celebrate the fantastic work of our volunteers. Autism East Midlands is extremely grateful for all of its volunteers, and the work and time they provide the charity. This support is vitally important for continuing to work towards the charities vision of a world which recognises, understands and values people with autism, and where they and their families receive the services and support they need throughout their lives.

As part of volunteers week Autism East Midlands has asked a handful of volunteers who are actively volunteering for us about their experiences.

Martha, who volunteers at our Family Support Hubs, mentioned how her volunteering experiences have helped to broaden her knowledge of autism. “It’s been completely eye opening for me. I was probably one of many people who thought that autism only really affected boys, however finding out how it affects girls & women, and the very broad spectrum of how autism can present in different people, has massively helped me in the ways I feel I can help the families.”

Not only has the experience of fundraising helped broaden Martha’s knowledge it has given her great moments she will treasure, “I had a lovely chat with one of the girls who came to the hub regularly and we bonded over our mutual interest in Japanese culture. It was a bit of a breakthrough as she hadn’t spoken very much at the hub up until that day so I felt very flattered that she was happy to chat to me and she seemed to come to life when talking about something she loved.” This beautiful example shows the brilliant work our volunteers do as they support families at our Family Support Hubs.

Chris volunteers in our Adult Services and has a passion to help autistic adults because of his personal connection to autism, “My grandson is on the autistic spectrum, and I am totally committed to helping him all I can. I believe that as a family we have got the present day well covered and therefore want to look to a more distant horizon when my grandson will be a young adult.” This is not however the sole reason Chris opted to volunteer for Autism East Midlands, “I chose Autism East Midlands because I am convinced that the organisation has a profound understanding of all of the parts of the spectrum, and has (or can access) the expertise and resources necessary to address issues and formulate strategies in a serious and professional way.”  We feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have such passionate volunteers who have a real appetite to improving the lives of autistic people across the East Midlands. Chris is gaining knowledge and helping people within our services which in turn will help him and his family support his Grandson in the future.

Deborah is a retired teacher, who kindly gives her time to support families at our Family Support Hubs, despite working in schools for years Deborah wanted to expand her knowledge of autism by volunteering for Autism East Midlands, “I’m even more aware that there is no one profile of autism. I have huge respect for the parents who have to cope 24/7 with their children….they must be exhausted most of the time! Although I taught autistic children in my mainstream class I wasn’t aware of how “close to the edge” many of the children feel a lot of the time. I find it a humbling experience.” Not only do our volunteers grow their knowledge but the experiences and moments stay with them forever and it is moving to hear all about them, “I had a breakthrough moment when one little boy actually played with the vehicles that buzz after 5 sessions of setting them out just with him in mind. Just shows….never give up!!!”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters who help the charity to continue its work, so from all of us here at Autism East Midlands, a massive thank you.

If you would like to get involved and support Autism East Midlands through volunteering then please check out our volunteering page.