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Jackie's Volunteer Journey

Why volunteer?

Jackie Woolgar is a full time scheduling assistant at Benenden Hospital and in her spare time she volunteers, with a range of organisations.

Jackie, 56, is currently a volunteer with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Kent and East Sussex Railway, the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway, the Friends of Lydd and Lydd Club Day, as well as bell ringing for three churches . She’s been a volunteer with the RSPB for the past 12 years, although her volunteering started more than 30 years ago, when she was just 21.

The benefits of volunteering, according to Jackie, include meeting new people, making new friends, learning new skills, doing interesting things and gaining experience to put on your CV.

She said: “When I moved from Kent to Surrey 12 years ago I didn’t know anyone and I knew that volunteering was a great way to meet people.

“Volunteering also helped me with my shyness. I’ve always worked in customer service over the phone but talking to many people face to face was completely different. Thanks to my volunteering experience nothing is so daunting any more.

Jackie Woolgar

“If you’re single it helps you to do things outside of work, to do things you’re interested in and to go to new places. I’d definitely encourage other people to give it a go.”

Jackie’s first voluntary role was with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She noticed they were advertising for drivers and having just passed her test she offered her services. As well as driving a mini bus for them she also helped with fundraising activities.

With the RSPB Jackie works as a retail assistant. She works in the gift shop and is the first point of call for visitors. Jackie talks people through where they should and shouldn’t go, how they should behave and what to look out for.

The benefits of volunteering include:

  • Gaining confidence
  • Making a difference
  • Meeting people and making new friends
  • Being part of a community
  • Learning new skills
  • Having fun!

Volunteers’ Week takes place annually and Volunteers’ Week 2017 is from 1- 7 June. Find out more at:

Published on 28 August 2019