Gary Langrish was used to doing Julia’s House challenge events, not volunteering at them - then he decided to help out at our Jurassic Coast Trek…
I work for an insurance broker and our office has been supporting Julia’s House for many years – it’s one of our local charities. I’d run a half marathon for Julia’s House before and remember seeing all the people behind the scenes, handing out medals, manning water stations, clearing up.
I know Julia’s House are always looking for people to help out at these events so I thought I would do my bit for a change and offered to volunteer for the day at their Jurassic Coast Trek.
When I first saw the schedule I thought, oh heck, I’m going to be exhausted and I’ve got to work the next day. To be honest I wondered whether I had made the right decision, because when you work all week and have a young family you really don’t need yet another commitment.
Of course you don’t have to help for a whole day and most people didn’t. There were lots of volunteers coming for shifts of a couple of hours which made a tremendous difference to Julia’s House without being a big sacrifice of their free time.
I turned up really early in the morning to help set-up gazebos and then serve teas and coffees to walkers as they turned up to register and was still there late into the evening, handing out celebratory Prosecco and packing up.
It had been a full-on day, flat out. But oh, the feel-good factor! From start to finish there was such a brilliant team atmosphere. It was busy all day with no real quiet time but despite this everyone was so upbeat and chipper. I loved it, especially witnessing the sense of joy and relief on the faces of the walkers as they crossed the line.
Julia’s House made all the volunteers feel welcome and part of the gang – they were just so appreciative of the time we had given up to help. They made us feel truly valued.
When I got into the car to go home I felt such a buzz from having spent the day doing something completely different and worthwhile. I was really fired up and knew that I wanted to do it all over again – I have already signed up to volunteer at the Trek again this June!
The next day at work, when people were asking each other what they did at the weekend, I felt really proud to say I had been volunteering for Julia’s House. My colleagues were so interested and it sparked a lot of conversation in the office – I think they were secretly impressed!
From the reaction I got I know that some of my workmates would like to give it a go – it’s such a great thing to do. I am hoping we could all help out at a challenge together – it would be a good bonding experience, great fun and we would have the satisfaction of knowing we were making a difference to such a special cause.
Not everyone is physically able to take part in a challenge or can afford to make a donation to Julia’s House but volunteering is something everyone can do. It costs nothing but is so valuable to the charity and so personally rewarding, too.