When David Fewkes retired from British Telecom back in 2014, he was eager to try something totally different and find a new challenge in his life.
During his time at BT, David had enjoyed a successful career of working and managing many different projects, some of which were abroad.
So when the time came to step down after 43 years of service, he was encouraged by his former employers to put his managerial and IT skills to good use and do some volunteer work.
After all, he was no stranger to voluntary work having chaired his children’s school PTA as well as the local fete committee in Hartley.
“After I retired, my inspiration was to volunteer for a local community or a wider charity,” he said.
“I initially started as an IT Buddy at my local library to help out those to get online to the internet and providing guidance of its use.
“I found out about Demelza later during a visit to my local fete.
“I saw the Demelza Dottie tent, loved the red colours, spoke to one of their representatives about they did for children and families and then signed up to their monthly lottery draw.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Putting his organisational and IT skills back into good use, David was parachuted straight into Demelza’s HR department for IT work and process reviews.
His communication skills also come in handy when raising awareness about Demelza to local communities and receiving cheques on behalf of the charity.
“I am proud to be a Demelza Ambassador and taking part in fundraising events gives you a great sense of achievement,” David continued.
“Being a volunteer has given me a new challenge in life by assisting those who need help or just a little guidance.
Like David, more and more people across Kent and beyond are turning to volunteering for a number of different reasons.
Some see it as a way to gain confidence – helping others can give you a real sense of achievement – while others see it as a way to meet new people, be part of a community, take on a new challenge or develop new skills.
For others, volunteering is also fun!
Those looking to volunteer in Kent can visit Kent Volunteers by clicking here where the right kind of placements are available for those looking to volunteer and organisations or businesses seeking volunteers.
David adds: “Demelza’s a great place to socialise, meet new people with the same energy you and with the same common goal of helping a charity or local community group,”
“Ask yourself what you can give back and enjoy doing; is it chatting, gardening, meeting new people or do you simply love history?
“Everyone has a skill that can be used in a charity or local community group. Everyone is needed. Never doubt what you can offer, no matter how much time you can spare.”
“Volunteers such as David are the essential lifeline for so many charity and community interest groups across Kent,” said Paul Auston, who is Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.
“The Queens Award for Voluntary Service recognises this with three Kent charity’s being awarded this year.
“Simply, there are not enough volunteers to meet the demand, so Kent Volunteers, an initiative of The Lord Lieutenant of Kent (HM the Queens personal representative in the county) creates a “handshake,” linking those who would like to help with those who need that help.
He adds: “Even a couple of hours a week can make all the difference. And let’s be clear, volunteers make that difference.”
For more information about Kent Volunteers, visit the official website here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03000 416259.