Today is International Volunteers Day, a day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteering. To mark the day we wanted to share with you a thought-provoking personal story that does just that, demonstrates the power and potential that volunteering can have on a person’s life. The Big Lottery Fund was a partner of Being the Story a one day event which gave a platform to people, who might not normally have one, to share invaluable insights from their personal experiences. Eddie Taylor a volunteer at New Beginnings shared his story of recovery and the impact volunteering and meaningful activity can have.
When I was 12 I would sit in the park with my friends pooling our pocket money so we could buy alcohol to share. This was the start of my addiction to alcohol. Having been through five detox programmes I had sadly relapsed on each occasion. I was at death’s door when I was referred to Waves of Hope a collaboration of local agencies working together to provide support, both practical and emotional to people with multiple and complex needs. I needed support to help reduce my drinking and find meaningful activity.
‘My story goes to prove that if you stop your addiction (whatever that may be) you CAN turn your life around. Having a purpose and activities you really enjoy can make all the difference.’
It was during my sixth detox as an inpatient I met Helen my New Beginnings support worker (a programme run by Liverpool Waves of Hope ). Liverpool Waves of Hope is funded as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives Programme. Helen and I spoke about activities I might enjoy which would help keep me busy once discharged. A programme was put in place which gave me something to do every day. This started on the day my detox finished. I have found a passion for photography and have used my skills with animals to start volunteering with Merseyside Dogs Home. I have now been abstinent for over 10 months.
At Being the Story I was supported by Liverpool Waves of Hope and the Big Lottery Fund to share my story and how volunteering and meaningful activity has helped people like myself in Recovery. This has been vital in helping me remain abstinent and allowing me to give something back through volunteering. What my story really shows is the impact volunteering can have not only for an organisation, but also for the volunteer. Sharing my experience at Being the Story has given me strength and confidence and I’m proud I was part of the day.
Eddie’s talk was part of a series filmed at Being the Story on Friday 20th October. The aim of the day as to put a spotlight on issues and stories that need to be told, giving a platform to people who might not normally have one. Please do watch, share and leave you thoughts in the comments.