October 2019 Volunteer of the Month

ELBA’s volunteer of the month for October goes to Tim Hipgrave, Employee Health and Wellbeing Manager at Bupa. Tim was selected for planning and delivering an engaging resilience themed workshop for year twelve students from Newham Collegiate Sixth Form College.

The resilience workshop is normally a session that Tim runs internally for fellow colleagues under the title “Performance Energy”. Tim put a lot of effort into adjusting the workshop to suit the student’s needs, discussing the challenges that might be faced by a Year 12 student and providing an opportunity for participants to ask questions about their specific concerns. Throughout the session, Tim and other Bupa volunteers offered the students practical tips and strategies on how to prioritise wellbeing by making small adjustments to their lives. Tim maintained great energy and enthusiasm throughout the session and is a worthy winner of Volunteer of the Month.

One student said:

“I’ve learnt that viewing a stressful event as a challenge has a positive output.”

Another commented:

“Today’s session taught me that I should take more time for myself and how I should manage my life for a better and more energetic life.”

We caught up with Tim to find out about his volunteering experience.

Why did you volunteer?
I volunteered because I find it really uplifting to give what help or advice or support I can to other people who might really need it. I used to do lots of work with children and young people but I haven’t done so in years and I really wanted to do that again – I always learn something new and interesting from talking to young about their experiences and view on things – it makes me challenge some of the ways I think about the world! Plus it’s just great to connect with other people – it’s good for everyone involved.

What have you gained from your volunteering experience?
The main thing is I just had a great time talking with and listening to the group of young people. It made my week! From preparing and running the session specifically with young people in mind, I learned some really valuable things to help bring a subject to life in a different way which is very relevant for my day to day work. I also had a very good reminder that teenagers have their own particular set of concerns, hopes, and worries – that reminds me how important it is to relate and connect to people on a personal level if I’m trying to support their wellbeing.

Would you recommend volunteering to a colleague and if so, why?
I’d recommend volunteering very strongly. It’s such a positive experience. I’m really lucky that my employer (Bupa) proactively supports opportunities to volunteer with ELBA, including expert volunteering which can be a really refreshing way to think about and challenge the way you approach your own work to make it relatable for a new audience. Also, the social connection you get from volunteering is just great. That alone makes it hugely worthwhile and I’ll definitely be doing more with ELBA, as well as in my community near home.

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