Vivien Schackermann volunteers in a number of roles with Autism Initiatives.  She has also develped an interest in fundraising and has taken part in organising various events.

When Number 6 relocated to the new premises in Hill Street they didn’t have a paid receptionist and I heard they were offering positions for services users to volunteer their time so I decided to put my name forward.  As I had not done much in the way of work I decided to start off with one day a week for 2 hours.  Once I got into the routine I asked if I could do another day as well.   The tasks I undertook where dealing with incoming /outgoing mail, making sure people signed the visitor’s book, making sure visitors felt comfortable and basic admin duties.

As I enjoyed the volunteering at reception very much, I then found out that the Director Richard Ibbotson at Autism Initiatives head office in Granton was looking for a volunteer design assistant and as I have a lot of experience with computers and Microsoft office I applied for the position and I was successful.  The work involves re formatting all forms used by the organisation using a template. I have to use my own initiative to determine the layout and wording of each form and how to apply this to the template, I file all the new and old forms in a file.  I am a person that likes to keep things neat and tidy.

The Cafe on the Corner is an Autism Venture business and I volunteer as a social media assistant, which involves researching and posting information on the cafes’ Facebook page and website.  The work varies and includes updates on menus, special offers and prices; I also undertake market research on both competitors and customers.

From all the volunteering I have been undertaking, I have now become involved in organising fundraising events.  The first event was a bake sale to raise money for a service user holiday and it was very successful and made me feel very proud of myself.  I was shocked afterwards and couldn’t actually believe what I had actually achieved; we raised over £150 in two hours.

I have now decided to organise a band night to raise money for Number 6 and for the Outreach service.  This will be held on the 11th of July

The reason why I do all the volunteering is that I have always wanted to give something back to Number 6 and the Outreach service for all the help they have given me since 2004.  The staff are brilliant it is the best service I have ever used and as a volunteer they make you feel as part of the team.  I am very proud to be able to say I do all that I do for Autism Initiatives and at the end of May I will also be partaking in the Hairy haggis relay to raise money for the summer trips that we all enjoy very much each year.

I have more confidence now and I have met some wonderful people I also just want to thank Autism Initiatives for letting me volunteer for them and I really enjoy it so much.