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“How charity work has really benefitted me”

Former PRIME Cymru client, Jack Walters, has written an opinion piece about his experiences with volunteering, how it has helped him, and how it could help you too.

Jack was supported by our Development Officer, Hilary, who helped him to obtain three volunteering positions in his local area.

'Charity Work' by Jack Walters

It’s far too easy wallow in your own self-pity. Blame the lack of work on your sex, colour or age. And maybe you’re right, but apart from satiation of being right, what good does it do you? It starts to eat at your self being, making you angry and bitter. And before long that shows in your application letters and very much in your personality, if you should get interview.

Plus the lack of work creates new bad habits. Getting up late and doing less and less during your day.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to break that habit, by helping others. You get back into the rhythm of work. Talking to people, and not just telling people how bad it is. Because believe me there are a lot worse off than you.

As an actor, you spend most of your time going to castings. There could be over a hundred people going for role. You can’t go there with chip on your shoulder, you’ll just fail. You give 100% or more with every casting. And if you don’t get the job, you know you did your utmost.

The same with the job market. You need to be positive and have edge. Volunteering work gives you that edge. There are two people up for the role, Peter and Paul. Peter spends his time at home waiting for a paid job. Paul spends his day doing charity work. You do the sums. Who would you hire? The one who’s used to working, has not wasted his time waiting for a job? Also it’s a conversation starter at the interview: “You do charity work? What do you do?”

Volunteering work also teaches you new skills. For example at the charity shop I’ve been working at, apart from all the normal shop skills, they plan to get me on a PAC course, to test electrical items. A bonus skill.

With the PACTO charity, making an information film helped me to bring back my confidence in film-making and editing. It had been some time since I had worked on a project.

Throughout my life I have tried to help others when I can. Charity shows and concerts - ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’. To get chance to sing on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. There’s always a bonus to helping others. And the biggest is the ‘thanks’ you get. It just reminds you, you might be out of work at this moment, you might be low on funds. But the world has sunshine.

When the time comes you look back on your life and you ask yourself if you being there had any effect on others, compare to other people’s lives? You can say … yes!

So my advice for all those ‘between jobs’ - do charity work. It will be the best decision you have ever made.

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