Helen Shepherd is a Dance Leader and Administration Assistant with DanceSyndrome. She is a valued member of the team who has a unique understanding of the value of inclusive dance and the complex logistics of delivering workshops and event performances. Here Helen talks about how her work with DanceSyndrome started and why she thinks volunteering is incredibly valuable, not just to the charity, but also to the volunteer.
In July 2015 I attended an induction day for the Dance by Example training course run by DanceSyndrome. I wasn’t to know at the time but going to this induction would change my life for the better. I enjoyed the induction and signed up for the course; the course was really good and well run by Sophie & Peter.
I attended the sessions every week, completing both theory and practical exercises and visited other workshops to see how they were delivered. Then, towards the end of the course, I started to volunteer for Dancesyndrome.
This was a really exciting opportunity! I was offered the chance to run a dance workshop in Clitheroe, alongside established Dance Leader Peter Pamphlett. We partnered with a local group called Spring into Phab, a multi-activity group lead by young people with disabilities, who managed to secure funding for us to run the workshop for 8 weeks.
I was nervous about leading a workshop for the first time, but the support from Peter, DanceSyndrome Lead Artist Sophie and the rest of the team was excellent!
The group was really good and it grew over time .When the initial funding finished, Spring into Phab and Dancesyndrome came together to continue the sessions as a partnership and major funding was secured from Spirit of 2012.
I loved volunteering for Dancesyndrome and I became more confident over time. In March 2016, I was offered a paid position with the charity! I was over the moon and accepted the offer. My partnership with Peter has gone from strength to strength and the group is thriving we have a really good time every Saturday.
Time is a valuable thing and giving a little bit of your time can make such a difference to help people to thrive in things they love and have a more fulfilled life. Seeing people succeed and grow gives such a reward for your time. If you invest time and it leads to paid work, or to help you fulfil your own goals, that’s a lovely bonus and a great reward for all your hard work.
I believe volunteering your time is a valuable way to get into work. I have done this on many occasions in the past and 9 times out of 10 it has paid off and led to paid work.
So if you have a little time to give, consider trying something new to help someone out. You never know where it may lead….
If you would like to know more about how you can volunteer with DanceSyndrome, please visit the Support Us page. Volunteering can be anything, from helping at dance workshops or taking photographs/video at events through to actively fundraising for us or even micro-volunteering, like sharing our social media posts. If you would like to know more about micro-volunteering, you might be interested in this previous blog.