Patricia Chandler, who is Deaf and uses British Sign Language, tells us why she loves volunteering with Caritas Westminster Deaf Service, one of the many services supported by the Cardinal's Appeal.
'So why do I volunteer?
'Really, because I like doing things. Gets me out of the house.
'So my first volunteer job was with Oxfam. I went and asked them for a job in their shop. Gave them two references, and I worked there for three years. I learnt of loads of really valuable skills: how to use to till, how to evaluate jewellery and clothing, lots of different things.
'Unfortunately, because of the pandemic and the lockdown, I had to stay at home for eighteen months.
'Those eighteen months, they weren't boring. They were really interesting; I used Zoom meetings for Mass, for praying, for Bible Study, lots of different things. I learnt loads and it really gave me confidence.
'Then when I was able to go out again, I got contacted last September, by a person who knows me. They had some clients with learning difficulties, and asked me to come and work with them.
'That was in September, so I work with them now.
'It's at the Deaf Centre, it's the Deaf Access. So I've got 6 clients, and they have autism and learning disabilities and I'm working with them to improve their life skills and their social skills.
'I really enjoy it, I'm there Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometimes on Saturdays. But I'm not always there Saturdays because it's quite a long way to travel and I have to spend some time with my own family, my own children.
'So why do I volunteer?
'So this morning I realised the answer to that when I was looking at the CCRS WhatsApp group I'm in. Thinking, yeah, that's right, that's me, the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That's from Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22-23. Thinking, yep, that's me, that's why I do this, that's why I volunteer.
'So I also found, I linked in with people more. I got involved with more things and doing the Rosary, supporting somebody one-to-one and I've been doing that for the last two years. The Bible Study, I learnt lots from that, from the different groups I'm involved in.
'So it means I keep a good relationship with other Catholics and with other Christian groups. So it's for the love of everybody and for peace, that's why I do it.'
If you're inspired to volunteer by Patricia's story, visit www.caritasvs.org.uk to find your perfect voluntary role.