Alison discovers her passion and life calling through volunteering

Alison registered with New Leaf in spring 2017. At 45 she had been long term unemployed for much of her adult life. After leaving school with no qualifications, Alison was a single parent to 3 children and coping with an addiction. Her journey to recovery started before New Leaf and she has since been helping to look after her grandchild. Before she signed up with New Leaf she had completed a counselling course and wanted to help people in some way but wasn’t sure where to go next. She signed up with New Leaf after a social worker suggested it to her.

She initially volunteered with a charity called Fallen Angels, who support people with addictions through dance, performance and creativity. Working with people with addictions was something she could relate to and bring her own experiences of recovery.

“This gave me a taste for volunteering and built up my confidence. We worked on a dance work shop which culminated in a performance at the Cathedral. The focus was on woman and this fuelled my interest in working with women further. I came back to see Dee at CVA and she suggested that I get involved with setting up a women’s group for Chester Aid to the Homeless. The group met weekly to do nails, hand massage and aromatherapy, and some yoga. I am now about to embark on yoga teacher training. CVA is also going to support me to set up a social enterprise offering yoga and relaxation to community groups to aid healing and empowerment. I feel that volunteering has helped me find what I’m good at and build my confidence to make a living from doing something I feel passionate about. I will also be starting a part time job in a coffee shop next month where I will get further training!”

John Buchanan from Chester Aid to the Homeless said, “Alison has been instrumental in the creation and development of a women’s group. She has brought her own skills and experience to the group and has proved to be an invaluable asset to the charity.”

For further information on New Leaf please contact Dee Gunning on 01244 401 272 or dee.gunning@chesterva.org.uk