Five minutes with …… Jacqui Brace
PAVS: Please tell us about the volunteering you’ve been doing Jacqui.
JB: I’m administering the Treats for Time scheme at PAVS, which I’ve been doing since September 2013.
PAVS: What made you get involved with PAVS?
JB: I was out of work and wanted to get experience in I.T. and admin. I had worked in administration many years ago, before having children, and I’d started an I.T. course through Experience Counts but needed to get my confidence back. One day I got talking to Jean from PAVS in Fishguard, where we both live, and said I had thought about doing some volunteering; she told me that where she worked – PAVS - needed a volunteer administrator for the Treats for Time scheme and suggested I apply for it. I went to PAVS a few days later to meet the Volunteering team and before I knew it I’d signed up as a volunteer!
PAVS: How is the volunteering going?
JB: it’s going really well. I enjoy my time in the PAVS office and I really enjoy the work I do as a volunteer, processing ‘treats’ from local businesses for people who have volunteered for 50 hours.
PAVS: What made you think of becoming a volunteer in the first place?
JB: I was (and still am) already volunteering, portraying ‘Jemima Nicholas,’ Fishguard’s local heroine who almost single-handedly fought off the French during the last invasion of Britain in 1797! However, as much as I enjoy being ‘Jemima’ I wanted to get back into office work having spent years looking after my family, and knew I needed to do something else to help me find work.
PAVS: Has volunteering helped you to do other things?
JB: Yes definitely, I feel more confident in general and I have recently got a job in retail; the interviewers were very impressed by the fact that I volunteered for PAVS and I found that my volunteering gave me something to talk about at interview to show that I had recent work experience! Technology has changed so much over the years that I found the idea of working in an office environment again scary. I would never have built up enough confidence to apply for admin jobs if I hadn’t volunteered for PAVS, but now I feel that I could confidently apply.
PAVS: What helps you to keep going?
JB: I get to chat to or meet so many different people who have volunteered and earned ‘treats’ so it’s a lovely thing to do. The hours are very flexible which suits my childcare needs etc. The team I work with are very supportive; when I first started Caroline used to sit with me most of the time initially to make sure I was coping with the work. Caroline explained everything really clearly and was very approachable and patient. After a few volunteering sessions, as my confidence grew she gradually withdrew from the intensive support but she and Jean are always available to help if needed.
PAVS: What kind of volunteering or work would you like to do in the future?
JB: I currently have a job in retail but would really like to get a paid office job in the near future. In the meantime I would like to do some more courses to help develop my work skills and I will continue to volunteer at PAVS and as Jemima!