New Volunteer Role – Caring for my hometown

I have been worrying about what I can do to help contribute to my local community and make a difference now that I no longer work. I know many people have told me that I am crazy for worrying as living with chronic pain and it’s effects is a full time job in itself and twice as tiring, but that doesn’t alter my desire to want to help people. The extent to which I can do this at the moment is minimal there is so much support that I am trying to get in place that I have to restrict myself to 2 phone calls a day else I am totally confuddled by the end of the day who I have spoken to, who has agreed what, when, how why etc and then I miss appointments, waste peoples time, forget to reply to messages and so on. My PA (also known as my carer and my wife) leaves me little notes or to do lists to remind what it is I need to do and what I need to ask. If someone calls me out of the blue I sound like one of those nightmare call centres you get calls from where the poor person (I say poor person as I have worked in call centres and there was/is lots of positives to a well run call handler) has a script sheet and does not know how to deviate from the script or ad lib, only I am calling about a fridge and they deal with Roadside Assistance. The errrs, arrrs and ummmms coming from me are there to fill the long pauses as I search frantically in the recesses of my brain to figure out who I am talking to and about what – more often than not the caller is more confused than me and the call ends with me arranging to call them back at a more convenient time. Usually I forget to do this too.

With all this being just one small side effect of my pain to contend with I am sure that you can see why it makes volunteering difficult. Nonetheless someone once told me i was a stubborn so and so, me really, I couldn’t believe it. Anyway an opportunity has arisen for me to be able to help be an admin on a facebook group that means a great deal to me. It is a group with all matters concerning my hometown. The page will have been running 4 years next week and has grown in that time to nearly 2,000 members. People can discuss all matters relating to the town, events and news in the town and surrounding village areas with a few exceptions no business or selling adverts, no foul and/or abusive language, no bullying and/or harassment of members or admin. The usual things but with it being social media the site still needs to be maintained to ensure nobody breaks these rules, that posts are well structured debates as opposed to abusive, argumentative or provoking and are not indecent. The typical things you can get from trolls and certain people. I know this is only a very small thing  but it is something, I join a group of already well organised admins who to a certain extent are aware of the complexities of my disability and will not worry if I disappear for a few days and something that I can do from the discomfort of wherever I happen to be anytime evening, daytime, middle of night and from my mobile or laptop or any other device I happen to be near. I am passionate about getting the best for the Town I grew up in and have many fond memories of it so to be be able to do this small thing is really exciting for me, even though I know how petty some squabbles can become over social media.

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