Gwen has volunteered with Romsey Mill in a number of different capacities. She wanted to share her story.

Gwen says:

Having moved to Cambridge under unexpected circumstances, I was supported by a lot of charities initially. Romsey Mill were there for me and my family in ways I didn’t even realise I needed.

Not only was my son happy and thriving in the preschool (his first experience being away from me and his sister) but I was supported emotionally and helped in seeking other avenues of accessing services.”

From this start, Gwen has gone on to be an amazingly committed and versatile volunteer. Initially this was at Romsey Mill’s Pre-school, in our Ross Street Community Centre. 

Gwen says:

Starting in the preschool gave me the opportunity to see how Romsey Mill nurtures young minds and supports them in getting ready for school. Which was wonderful to watch as my son went through this transition.”  

Soon, Gwen began to volunteer to help with the courses that Romsey Mill runs as part of our Young Parents Programme (YPP).  Initially, Gwen volunteered on Shine, a self-confidence course for young mums, where she was a ‘table leader’ encouraging the mums to engage in discussion and reflection.

Then, the following term, Gwen offered to help with another course run by YPP, the Healthy Eating on a Budget. This course allowed Gwen to use the skills she has as a trained chef; helping the parents to develop their cooking skills. The third course that YPP runs every year is the Bronze Arts Award, in partnership with The Fitzwilliam Museum, and Gwen has helped with that, too.  

Susan Condie, Young Parents Worker, acknowledges the essential role of volunteers in YPP’s work:

Reliable volunteers are invaluable in the groups and courses that we run. Knowing that I have an extra person with me to make drinks, help with set up and pack down, and to support the participants, means so much when I’m planning and preparing.

I also try to encourage volunteers who have skills which match the course content to assist in the delivery of some sessions. The participants benefit greatly from having volunteers in the sessions, even if it just means someone is there to hold their little one so they can eat some lunch!  

I value all volunteers, whatever their level of input and am always grateful for anyone who is willing to give up their time to help us in this way.”  

Speaking of Gwen’s contribution, Susan says: 

Gwen is now starting her third year of volunteering with the YPP courses, but during the autumn of 2022 she expanded her offer of support further.

The YPP team had recognised the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the families that were attending our groups.

In response to this the team were able to access some Warm Spaces funding, from Cambridge City Council, to provide a hot lunch for all the Babies and Buddies, and Dads Group, attendees.

To enable the team to focus on running the sessions, Gwen has given her time and skills to cook amazing, vegetarian meals for the families, each Wednesday.”  

Gwen has seen, at close hand, the impact of the work to which she contributes. She says:

My time with YPP has been amazing, seeing just the transformation in these parents and just how much the groups help them grow as people and parents.”

On top of all this, Gwen has also started volunteering at the Romsey Mill Charity Shop. Gwen says: 

The shop has helped immerse me into the community of Mill Road. This has been an amazing way to feel welcomed and generally comfortable living in a new city. I just love being able to give back to a charity that has helped me so much.”