John's volunteering story
Tell us about your volunteering role
"Alongside my role as a Carers Strategy & Development Manager, I offer my skills through free consulting to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), helping them to produce guides on supporting young carers and advising about approaches to supporting families with caring responsibilities. I also do voluntary work with Kingstonian Football Club, helping to raise awareness for carers by introducing concessionary entry fees for carers and helping to raise awareness in the community."
How did you get into volunteering?
"After hearing about the idea from a colleague I decided to take flexible retirement at the age of 60. I had not formally volunteered before but saw the opportunity to use my professional skills and knew that this role would fit in nicely."
"I discovered the opportunity to volunteer with the ADASS because I was aware of their work through my professional role and had worked with them in the past. Having knowledge of the topic meant that I knew I could make a valuable contribution."
"Retirement can sound daunting but I don't see myself as taking flexible retirement – I love my job. I have just stepped down my work slightly, whilst continuing to use my skills."
How flexible is the volunteering?
"Once I had decided on taking flexible retirement, I had a discussion with my manager to agree my current arrangement which is 3 days a week at work and 1 day a week volunteering."
"This is extremely flexible though; I am able to self-manage and give as much or as little time as I like. Sometimes, work takes a priority and my volunteering is able to fit around that and vice versa. My volunteering role complements my job."
What do you find most rewarding?
"Volunteering helps to keep my job so interesting and allows me to continue to offer my skills in a way that is socially valuable. It has given me opportunities to do fun and positive things, and allows voluntary organisations to use my expertise to help other people."
What advice on volunteering would you give to someone approaching retirement?
"Many volunteering opportunities give you the chance to try something first to see if you enjoy it and have a passion for it."
"If I had any advice to give to people approaching retirement and considering volunteering, I would say pick something you care about and give it a try. This is the best way to maintain interest and also provides a feeling of self-worth. There are lots of community-based groups to get hands-on with if you look for them. I hope to volunteer for quite some time into the future."
To find out more about opportunities to support carers visit the Action for Carers Surrey website.
To speak to someone about volunteering where you live, get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre.
For more inspiration, look at our volunteering ideas.
Thinking about volunteering in your retirement but not sure where to start? Check out our guide which has everything you need to know about volunteering in retirement and why you should give it a try.