Looking to the Future

My Furlough Experience

This is my Corona story.

I remember watching the News, the story about those people coming home from China and being taken on a coach to Arrow Park Hospital. All the medical staff in biohazard suits, it was like something from a film, I could never imagine how things would unfold.

Then on 27 March 2020 I was furloughed from work.

I work as welder for recycling company based in Kirkby. I have always been an active person, working long hours in physically challenging work, the thought of being at home all day filled me with dread.

I decided to volunteer and became a responder for the Royal Voluntary Service. As a volunteer, my phone would ring like an ambulance siren and I would then go into the app and find the job. The jobs were always close to home and usually involved picking up prescriptions and sometimes shopping for those who were most vulnerable. I had some regulars and it was lovely to get to know people in my community who I wouldn’t usually see because of work.  The responder work was intermittent, so I looked for other volunteering opportunities and became involved with Incredible Edible Knowsley. I volunteered one day a week and it was my job to deliver seedlings to people in a bid to encourage them to grow their own fruit and vegetables.  I really enjoyed my little delivery job, for one day a week I would load my car with all kinds of plants and go off across the Merseyside, meeting all kinds of people, all keen on becoming more self-sufficient.

When I wasn’t volunteering, I decided to go on a personal development journey, I had done my English and Maths at night school last year really enjoyed it. I started doing online courses the first was a suicide prevention course, in all I did 13 different courses.  During this time I realised that, I wanted to do something different with my life. I wanted to help people and be more involved in the community.

A volunteering opportunity came about that involved supporting people with mild to moderate learning disabilities in a not for profit, day service. I started volunteering there and felt like I had found my true vocation; this was what I want to do with my life.  The work can be challenging but the rewards far outweigh that. I have since become a Director in the organisation hope to increase client numbers so that this can be my full time job.

Today is the 7th October and I am still furloughed, I am in my real job two days a week and continuing with my volunteer job three days a week. My manager wants me back in full time at the end of the month.

Corona Virus is awful, it has had catastrophic effect on so many people. For me it gave me a rare opportunity to stop, think about who I am and what I do. It allowed me to grow, to help others and for the first time in a long time, feel content in my work.

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“During this time I realised that, I wanted to do something different with my life. I wanted to help people and be more involved in the community”

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