Volunteers’ Week 2023 – Ollie’s story
It’s Volunteers’ Week (1st-7th June), and we’re showcasing one of our fantastic volunteers – Ollie! Not only is he an up-and-coming accountant, but he’s also a selfless volunteer who is dedicated to making a difference in his community. Juggling his demanding ACA qualification studies with a busy work schedule, Ollie still manages to find the time to support those living at Your Place. Here, Ollie shares his story.
I’m currently training to become an accountant at an audit firm based in Canary Wharf. It’s been quite a journey so far – I’m in the process of completing my ACA qualification, which involves taking 15 exams over the course of three years. It’s been challenging, but I’m excited about the career opportunities that await me once I complete my training.
But my passion extends beyond my career aspirations. After university, my first job was in the recruitment industry, working with people in the legal sector. It was an exciting time – I got to meet new people every day and help connect them with job opportunities. But I knew that I wanted to do more. I had done some volunteering at school, helping out with local soup kitchens and doing whatever I could to give back to the community.
Earlier this year, at the start of 2023, I decided that I wanted to take my passion for volunteering to the next level. I’ve been given so many opportunities in my life, from my education to my upbringing, and I know that not everyone is as fortunate. I wanted to use my experience in recruitment to help others with their job aspirations, to help them achieve their dreams just like I’m working towards mine.
That’s when I discovered Your Place. I reached out and was put in touch with Zara, the job coach at Your Place. I knew immediately that this was the right fit for me. Your Place provides support to people who have experienced homelessness, helping them get back on their feet and work towards a brighter future. I knew that I wanted to be a part of that.
Since then, I’ve been volunteering at Your Place once every two weeks on a Wednesday evening after work. It’s not a lot, but given my full-time work and study schedule I feel that it is something. And I’m proud to say that I’ve been working with David, one of the residents at Hope Street, for the past five months. David is interested in becoming a forklift driver, but he had no prior experience. So, we worked together to update his CV and prepare him for interviews. I’m happy to report that David recently passed an exam and is one step closer to achieving his dream job.
For me, volunteering is all about being present and empathetic towards others. It’s about recognising the privileges that I’ve had in my life and using them to help. I believe that by connecting with individuals whose life experiences may differ from my own, I can make a positive impact and inspire change.