How volunteering has supported my family - Katie Woodhouse

I have done some form of volunteering for most of my life! From the age of 11 until I left home for university at 19 I helped with a Brownie unit. I then took a year out and volunteered at a Primary School (although I did eventually end up getting paid £35 a week for this so I’m not totally sure that it counts?). After university I went back to helping at Brownies and qualified as a leader. I stopped for a while to bring up my 3 children but never really strayed far from volunteering. Over the next 10 years I became a member of the toddler group committee, then the Preschool management committee, taking on the roles of secretary and chair. I was also a member of the PTA for a few years and went in to both school and pre-school regularly to listen to readers or help with activities. Since 2013, I have been taking the bookings for the village hall.

When my eldest daughter joined Rainbows at the age of 5, I offered to help at meetings on alternate weeks, then as she moved up to Brownies I became a unit helper there each week. When she left Brownies, there was no Guide unit in our village, so I decided to put my Guiding training to good use and start one! Five years later and I’m still there (even if my daughter is not!) it does help that I have 2 more daughters to keep me going for a while longer! In January this year, I was asked to take on the role of District Commissioner for Hitchin West. I was very apprehensive as I know it is a big commitment but so far so good!

Girlguiding are always looking for people to help. We don’t just need volunteers to run units, people can help by becoming the treasurer for a unit or a district, being an additional helper on camps or holidays, helping leaders with admin or just coming along and sharing any skills that they have with the girls. 

I can’t imagine life without volunteering in some way or another, however one of the main reasons that I have been able to dedicate so much time to it is that I have not worked full-time since my children were born. When you are working long hours, it is very difficult to commit to any amount of volunteering although I am always amazed at the number of people who do!

My voluntary work has always been on a small scale. I enjoy helping people in my own community. Knowing that I am providing even one girl with the opportunity to do something that they would not have done without Guides is amazing. However, it is also quite selfish – I want what is best for my family and all my voluntary roles have, in my opinion, enhanced my family’s way of life. I have supported my children at pre-school, school and in Guiding and we have all learned loads along the way. If Cuddlecare can encourage even one person to volunteer then it will make a difference – Good Luck!!!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Girlguiding please follow the link below;


Kerry Prest