June 1 – 7 is National Volunteers Week – a time to celebrate the amazing work done by volunteers in communities up and down the country.

Home-Start has over 13,500 home visiting volunteers, but there are thousands of people who volunteer in other ways.

Home-Start UK trustee, Liz Hill-Smith explains why she volunteered her experience and expertise as both a trustee and a home-visiting volunteer.

Liz Hill-Smith“In January 2016 I decided to move on from a full-time role I held in a Leadership and Development consultancy towards a mix of volunteering, consultancy work, and some non-exec or trustee appointments in areas where I had an interest and a passion to make a difference. I came across Home-Start and checked out both local volunteering and, as they were recruiting UK Trustees, that too.

I was appointed a Trustee of Home Start UK and also trained and became a local family visiting volunteer. As I began these journeys I found the people I met to be amazing, kind, generous folk, all passionate about giving back to their communities, and I loved being involved.

By summer 2017 I found myself back four days a week at KPMG, where I had worked from 1990 to 2000, in a new role which I love. As a bonus, I found that as a result of KPMG’s Corporate Social Responsibility policies, I have eight paid days a year to devote to my trustee board volunteering*.

This covers most of my board volunteering role. The fact it is so accepted by the firm is huge for me. I am part of a large internal network of colleagues also acting as charity trustees, and we share information, experience and expertise through a special forum created for us.

There are webinars on the role of the Trustee and other opportunities to share and learn. Being part of a board brings a deeper understanding of the dilemmas faced by our own clients, and the experience of both aspects of my Home-Start volunteering has proved invaluable for my personal and professional development.

It gives me confidence, insight, new experiences, and connects me to an amazing network of people active in the third sector. Being a local volunteer gives me insights into myself and my own family which are invaluable too.

What I also love is being part of a firm where so many are active in the voluntary sector. I think it strengthens our positive community and society focused mindset. Many senior people reflect that the work they have done through the CSR programme carries great meaning for them and is very important to them. Like with Home-Start, as KPMG employees and Partners, the rules and boundaries of taking on a Trustee role are necessarily well defined, and this is important too.

I can honestly say that volunteering in these ways has bought a richness and depth to my life which I could not have expected. I would recommend it to anyone. It can be tough, and it can take time, but you never know what it will inspire in you and where it will lead.”

Find out how to volunteer for Home-Start

*For non-Board level volunteering, all staff have up to 6 days volunteering allowance.