Peter Dakin

Foundation Year

Placement: Community First Respondent

Organisation: St John’s Ambulance

Ideal career: Children's Nursing

Peter Dakin is a part-time mature student here at the University of Leeds, currently undertaking his foundation year and is hoping to study child nursing. Peter has been involved with volunteering for many years and since coming to Leeds University he regularly checks the Volunteering Hub for new opportunities. Peter has joined the Leeds University Union society Teddy Bear Hospital and hopes to work with them in the near future

I imagine volunteering will help my employability prospects but that's not my reason for doing it - I do it because I love it!

I found out about Teddy Bear Hospital through a member of the Volunteering Hub at an Open Day. The society was recommended to me as they deliver health education workshops to children aged 4 to 8 years old which would link directly to my desired course in child nursing. I imagine volunteering will help my employability prospects but that's not my reason for doing it - I do it because I love it!

Before I came to University I volunteered with a few organisations.  My first volunteering experience was whilst at college with the Princes Trust, as a bucket cash collector in local theatres. I have also volunteered with Cahir, a charity set up in Scarborough, who take disadvantaged children from the local area to Ireland for a week of activities with an educational focus. I learnt a lot from this experience including how to adapt my behaviour to different situations and how to deal with a group of children with varying levels of needs. It was a real eye opener for me and it was probably the most rewarding volunteering I have done. There are always teething problems when working with children and these can be quite challenging but the relationship and friendship you get with the children after just one week is unbelievable.

Since then, I have volunteered with St John's Ambulance, as this was something that interested me and I am currently volunteering for Yorkshire Ambulance Service where I am a Community First Respondent from my own home. I have been doing this for the past year and it involves me being on call for my local area and quite often I am actually the first person on the scene to administer the help needed. I decided to do this role as it is related to my course, but healthcare is something I have always seen myself doing as a career. Through doing this I received training on handling major issues such as cardiac arrest as well as using a defibrillator and attending to someone who has had a stroke.

Volunteering has definitely enabled me to increase my confidence levels, particularly through being able to share my own personal experiences with people who may have gone through similar things and working with a variety of people on a regular basis. Volunteering has greatly enhanced my personal development and it has helped me adapt to different situations and people and develop my interpersonal skills. For me it's also about giving something back and seeing the relief on people's faces when I've been able to help a relative or friend. At times when I've been the first person at someone's house after an emergency call and it could of been a matter of life or death, you realise you have made a difference and that's when it really hits home.  Even when I am in my career in the future, I will still find time to volunteer as it is so rewarding.