The importance of volunteers has been highlighted by Quarriers as the leading social care charity thanks its supporters for their valuable contribution during Volunteers’ Week.
Jan Bunch from Renfrew is a Volunteer Activity Worker at the Quarriers Renfrewshire Head Injury Service.
The initiative provides a co-ordinated and tailored service for survivors of brain injury, and their family, friends and carers, and runs different groups for clients depending where they are on their journey.
Jan explained how she became involved with the service, and she said: “On 9th May 2017, I was at my work when a door banged and a metal fuse box door opened above my head and sliced my head open. I went to the hospital and got four stitches and was sent home.
“The following days my family noticed that I was acting strange. I suddenly had a clear broad Edinburgh accent and was talking different, getting things back to front. My family took me back to accident and emergency and I received a CT scan.
“My doctor sent me to a specialist and it turned out I had post-concussion syndrome. I was recommended for a neurological investigation, CT scans and an MRI scan.
“My family did not understand what I was going through, I was very down. It was like balancing on a tightrope; I didn’t know if I was going to fall.
“I was struggling financially and asked for help from Advice Works. They made a referral to Renfrewshire Head Injury Service. Margaret and Ann visited me in January 2018, and the rest is history.
“I was introduced to the Sunshine Club, which runs every Friday afternoon in the Tannahill Centre. I am now a Volunteer Activities Worker: I wanted to give back the advice and understanding I received, and I feel very proud that I can help other people with head injuries.
“I have also been included in revising the Recovering Minds sessions which are sessions that staff run to help new clients understand their injuries, and I am part of the fundraising working group which comes up with ideas for fundraising for the service. The service and staff are my lifeline, my future.”
Jan has just been offered a relief contract with the service and Ann Paton, Administration & Advocacy Worker explained the importance of volunteers like Jan.
She said: “Jan was a real help at the Sunshine Club, she is so helpful and understanding with the clients. The opportunity came up with the service for a Relief Project Worker to help at the Sunshine Club, and Jan applied and was awarded the position which everyone was really happy about.”