Volunteering with Bump Buddies
I first started volunteering in 2010 with Bump Buddies. Having worked within the fashion industry until then, I felt that I needed to change my career. I felt restless and unsatisfied and thought about a career in health and social care – I was unsure what though.I began volunteering with summer schools teaching young children how to sew and make clothes. There I was put in touch with a more permanent volunteering organisation called Bump Buddies.
It’s a part of Shoreditch Trust and trains volunteers to support and befriend vulnerable pregnant women in Hackney. I signed up immediately. The training took place over twelve weeks, after which I took part in outreach work. Juggling this and my job within fashion was difficult, but it reminded me how much I was enjoying working within the community and how my career in fashion had come to a natural end.
That was over 4 years ago. That decision to volunteer was one of the BEST things I have ever done. The path it led me down has taken me to where I am at present, which is now studying on my Midwifery BSc. I absolutely love what I’m doing. I still volunteer with Bump Buddies, they’ve luckily allowed me to dip in and out over the years. It was through them that I heard about Dot Dot Dot.
My volunteering and the support I provide is usually one-to-one. It involves my coordinators pairing me up with a woman who is pregnant and in need of a ‘friend’ to accompany her to antenatal visits, housing appointments and being an advocate for her at any meetings she may have to attend, all of which we are given adequate training for.
The challenges these women deal with can range from seeking asylum, domestic abuse, surviving sex trafficking or homelessness. The list is unfortunately endless. If I feel at any time I cannot support her or need additional help, I escalate it and seek help from my coordinators.
I’ve been fortunate to be present at several births and seen the journey that these women take from being quite scared and unsure of their future, to being confident women with healthy babies and taking charge of their lives. I feel so privileged to be a part of it. I stay in touch with them even now, even though contact is meant to end a month after the birth, it’s difficult to sever that attachment on both sides. At the moment I’m very busy, but I’m really enjoying life. I can’t recommend volunteering enough to anyone who might be thinking their current lifestyle isn’t rewarding enough. You just don’t know where it might lead.