This Volunteers Week, we're shining a spotlight on some of our amazing volunteers.

Julia's training to become a Volunteer Mentor with Llamau had to be put on hold when lockdown began, but Julia was still really keen to help Llamau however she could. In recent weeks, Julia's been part of an invaluable team of volunteers who have been helping to deliver food and essential supplies to our projects across South Wales. 

Read Julia's story, and find out more about volunteering with Llamau below.

Volunteering opportunities

If anyone is considering volunteering with Llamau, I’d say don’t hesitate - jump in with both feet.

I’m a mum to two wonderful daughters, a glamorous granny to a beautiful little boy, a runner albeit a slow one but by running I can eat more cake and benefit from better mental health. After running a business for nearly 20 years, I decided to move to Cardiff about two years ago to start all over again. I fancied a city and Cardiff called. 

I have a wonderful job working with young people from birth to 16. I’m part of the Cardiff Council Parenting team, working in the crèches, looking after young people whilst their parents are attending courses and classes that help them with areas such as bonding, listening and strengthening family relationships and very importantly, understanding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s).

I love what I do and find my strengths really come out when I work with teenagers, which is what led me into my volunteer role with Llamau. My work is all about early intervention, which links heavily with Llamau’s ethos and values as a charity.

When I decided to volunteer it was to give back whilst gaining new skills and experiences but I couldn’t have imagined how wonderful those experiences were going to be.

Before lockdown, I’d started my training to become a Volunteer Mentor, which is currently on hold but thankfully Sam from Llamau is excellent at keeping in touch and reached out to ask if I’d like to volunteer in other ways. I jumped at the chance. Lockdown can be a lonely place so having the opportunity to continue connecting with people really has made a difference to me.

I’ve spent my time delivering food and PPE to projects across Cardiff, which has been a great way to become more familiar with my new home. When I deliver to a project, it’s lovely to meet with the Support Workers who come to the door. We have a little chat and sort of check in with each other. I’ve loved being able to connect with new people whilst giving something back. Each time you get a welcoming or grateful smile, it’s a moment I hold onto. I class them as my ‘lockdown moments’. They’re moments that mean so much to me.

One of my favourite days so far as a volunteer with Llamau, was when I spent my birthday delivering Easter eggs around Cardiff. When I arrived at the office to load up my car with the chocolate treats, I was welcomed by Sam singing happy birthday to me, which was so lovely. I’m ‘staying home’ alone so to be able to spend my birthday doing something as wonderful as delivering Easter eggs really made it a special day for me.

I also took part in the 2.6 Challenge for Llamau and raised over £250, which I was very proud of. I felt a huge sense of purpose being part of a wider team during the challenge.

I truly believe in Llamau’s ethos and want to continue volunteering for the charity for as long as I can. Llamau literally oozes positivity and does so much to help people; a lot of it people don’t see unless they’re involved like I am.

As a volunteer, I feel very valued and supported. I feel like I’m part of a very important, powerful family and I’ve only been a volunteer since the start of the year. I’m looking forward to recommencing my Mentor training when things start to return to normal and cannot wait to meet some of the young people I delivered Easter eggs to.

If anyone is considering volunteering with Llamau, I’d say don’t hesitate - jump in with both feet.