Jason is just one of the many young carers in the UK looking after both his parents as well as helping to care for a younger sibling. He is also one of the many who have been a victim of violence and abuse.
When Sheri from Step Together met Jason he was enormously lacking in confidence. In his own words, Jason said, “I was too shy to do anything and thought I wouldn’t be able to volunteer because I care for my parents.”
It didn’t take long for Sheri to see that Jason has a great passion for bikes and she set about finding a related volunteering opportunity. She found a charity who rented bicycles to members of the community in a local park. They were interested in a volunteer to help with bicycle maintenance and Jason soon started volunteering with the charity.
A year on, and Jason still volunteers each week without fail. Jason said, “Before I thought it was just a way of working without pay for the experience but I realise it’s benefitted me in so many other ways and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of different options. It’s helped me as a person to be more confident. I’ve met new people and developed better communication skills. It’s given me a lot of experience too. I’ve done courses like first aid and learned loads about the community. I think I’m more able to rely on people and trust them.”
“I was too shy to do it on my own – I wouldn’t have even been able to greet anyone without Sheri’s support. If it weren’t for Sheri I wouldn’t have volunteered nor had the opportunity to do what I do now. When I met Sheri, it was the first time anyone has been able to explain the choices I’ve got.”
When he met Sheri Jason was at Sixth Form College, but had to leave when the hours changed and no longer fitted with his caring responsibilities. Jason had always wanted to study mechanics and Sheri helped him find and apply for a college course. Despite applying late, Jason was offered a place on the mechanics course and he believes that this was because of his volunteer work.
“Volunteering really has helped me with finding a direction, all the doors seem to be opening now. Volunteering has changed a lot of things. It’s made me happier and it’s fulfilling knowing I’m helping people. Where I work is amazing! I really enjoy it.”