To watch Clare’s inspiring interview click on this link.
I was on the scrapheap. Overweight and miserable, I had been off work for five years. Sitting there in bed, I realised that if I didn’t do something and do it quickly then I was in serious trouble – both physically and mentally. But what to do?
I googled volunteer places at MM and was rewarded with the revelation of the if course – Volunteering for Wellbeing could have been made for me. People over 50, long-term out of work and in need of a confidence boost and tools to climb back up into the working world. I completed the form and pressed “Send” and it really did change my life!
Over the next ten weeks we were nurtured and cajoled, guided and presented with all sorts of information about being a volunteer – information that also helps with life in general. We met curators and experts from the museum who were so very friendly and above all human! Not stuffy “highups” but real people who cared about us and our path.
As the weeks progressed, I uncurled and found the real Me who had been hiding away for so long. I found my voice and more importantly I discovered that I LOVE giving presentations – after all, it is just talking to people about the subjects I love.
And where am I now? Having done my six week placement on the Ancient Worlds table, I have stayed on doing this each Monday afternoon. I am also honoured to be volunteering up in the new Study area, a place where I can research my passions alongside amateur members of the public and professionals alike.
Has the course changed my life? Yes and more. It has actually given me back my life, a life seemingly lost to lack of hope and depression. I am the real Me again. I used to manage seven companies and at the same time brought up three children alone. That resourceful and capable Clare is back.
I thank Manchester Museum and the if course for helping me find myself. I hope I can give something back for the future.