Ish, Cambridgeshire: From volunteering with Time Credits to full time employment

Ish is 23 years old and an arts and music enthusiast in Cambridge. For the past 10 years, Ish has experienced major mental and physical health challenges but with the support and opportunities they have gained through Time Credits, has come a long way in their recovery.

Ish: “I first heard about Time Credits about 4 years ago when I began volunteering for the Richmond Fellowship. I remember the first time I attended the training I was so nervous but felt so welcomed by everyone.”

Despite initial nerves, Ish proved to be a great volunteer whilst volunteering at the Richmond Fellowship. During their time there, they assisted with keeping admin records up to date and advertising Time Credits. Ish’s experience and enthusiasm for earning, spending and supporting Time Credits meant that they were recruited to be a Time Credits coordinator for two charities based in Cambridge: Illuminate and Make Do and Mend. Their role had progressed from an administration-based role to marketing and managing teams of people. As a Time Credit coordinator Ish earned Time Credits for attending network events, sharing their admin skills with others, supporting the development of Time Credit activities and coaching and supporting those who attended groups.

“I really loved the idea of Time Credits as an incentive to get volunteers to progress in their roles and to continue to volunteer for as long as they could. As a coordinator I have also had plenty of feedback from other volunteers who have said they are grateful and inspired by earning their Time Credits.”

Ish particularly enjoy spending Time Credits on sport and leisure activities but has also gifted them as treats to friends and family.

“I sometimes go to the cinema which is brilliant as I can’t afford to go usually very often. I have also used them on a bike maintenance class which was extremely useful. I actually want to go to another class like this soon to brush up on my skills. I have also gone swimming with them and to the theatre.”

As well as building confidence, the skills and experience that Ish gained through volunteering has led to a permanent job.

“I’ve met some amazing people along the way and progressed with skills, such as admin, which has now led me onto getting a permanent job with the NHS as an administrator for the local hospital.”

Ish’s knowledge of the community still comes in handy, ‘in my new job I find I often am able to direct people to places in the community which I have found helpful.”

Ish has a message to anyone thinking about participating in Time Credits:

“Go for it! You’ll gain experiences, skills and support. Not only does it bring you closer to your local community but you make many friendships too!”

“From having no job, to volunteering, to working temporarily with charities involved with Time Credits, to gaining a permanent job in the NHS, I have come so far and am so much more optimistic on my life and without the help of Time Credits I really don’t know where I would be right now.”

Do you have a Time Credits story to share? We’d love to hear them – get in touch