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Volunteering at the BLF is really rewarding

Aaron says making a difference to people's lives is the best thing he's ever done.

Volunteering at the British Lung Foundation has been a genuinely life-changing experience.

Before, I lacked confidence and felt a bit lost after graduating from university.

The few months I’ve spent at BLF Direct have given me new-found confidence and real direction to my life. The future looks much brighter.

Everybody gave me a warm welcome, and I felt part of the team straight away. I’m learning something new every day and acquiring skills and understanding I can draw on for the rest of my life. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience being able to help people affected by lung disease.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do before, but now I’ve found something I love and can’t imagine doing anything different. Here’s what I’ve been up to today.

Helping people on the phone

When I first began volunteering here, I thought I’d probably just be licking envelopes – but within a couple of weeks I was answering the phones on the helpline.

People call us with lots of different questions, so I get as much information from them as I can then pass them onto somebody who can help them further. That might be Carol, one of our benefits advisors, or Muriel, one of our respiratory nurses.

I'm part of the team that makes sure all the calls are answered promptly. That means I’m often the first person to speak to the people who call in. I try to put them at ease by giving them all the information I can, telling them how we can help them, and letting them know that we’re here for them every step of the way.

Many people are worried about their lung health, have been diagnosed with a lung condition but don’t know much about it, or need extra support – so it’s incredibly rewarding to know I’m making a difference to their lives. Not only does it help the person I’m talking to, it helps me too – as I feel really good after helping them out.

Supporting our support groups

The BLF has more than 230 Breathe Easy support groups across the UK and I help them with anything they need from us. Today, that meant posting out some booklets to groups who are holding awareness events explaining what the BLF does. I also upload the photos they send in after their events to the website.

One of the most important things I do is let people know where their nearest support group is. People who have been to a Breathe Easy group always  tell me just how much that kind of support means to them, so I want to make sure as many people as possible can join too and share that potentially life-changing experience.

Ordering leaflets and Christmas cards

This month our supporters have been snatching up our Christmas cards to send to their friends and families. I’ve been making sure everyone gets their cards on time by helping them complete their orders on our online shop.

As well as Christmas cards, the BLF produces lots of information about living with a lung condition, as well as about different lung conditions. I help people find the information they’re looking for, either on the website or in one of our leaflets or booklets.

Everybody I work with – from the rest of the helpline team, to Breathe Easy groups, the people who call in and everybody else – has made volunteering here a really enjoyable experience. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

Find out how Aaron and the BLF team have been fighting lung disease this year in our annual report.

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16 December 2014