Caroline moved to Manchester in 2002 to become a full-time carer for her cousin but as the years went on she started to feel more and more isolated and anxious in social situations. Volunteering at The Place at Platt Lane offered Caroline a chance to get involved in the community, meet new people and gain new skills and confidence. She’s now working as a library assistant with Manchester Libraries.
“I’d always loved libraries since I was little. As a child I used to cycle seven miles each way every Saturday to go to the library to collect my 10 books for the week; I just felt at ease in a library. Having seen how hard everyone worked to keep my local library (Fallowfield Library) open and turn it into The Place at Platt Lane, I thought I would really enjoy being a part of it and so popped in to find out about opportunities and got involved.
What I like about volunteering at The Place at Platt Lane is the mix that it offers, one minute it can get quite hectic when you’re dealing with difficult situations and challenges that you haven’t come across before and then you have snippets of quiet time. I really enjoy the environment and the balance it offers.
I wasn’t actually looking for a job but then I received an email from Sarah (One Manchester’s volunteer and placement coordinator), about vacancies for library assistants and thought ‘why not?’ and applied. I got lots of support from the librarian at The Place at Platt Lane and had lots of experience I could draw on during my interview. When I found out I’d been successful I was overwhelmed. It felt like positive recognition for my work and the commitment I’d given.
When I found out I’d been successful I was overwhelmed.
It’s the best volunteering experience I’ve had. I think that’s down to feeling part of the team and the community that has worked so hard to keep the library open. I feel very different from the person I was when I first started volunteering at The Place at Platt Lane. Having experienced social anxiety, you can often feel like you are in your own bubble which can be mentally draining and stressful. You have to push beyond those familiar bubbles to try new things.
I’d tell anyone thinking about volunteering to take any opportunity you can because you never know where it may lead.”
I feel very different from the person I was when I first started volunteering