“It’s really, really good for me. It gets me out and about talking to people – it’s brilliant.”
Damian Edwards has been volunteering with Mahdlo since 2015. Damian also has autism, something which he says volunteering with Mahdlo has helped him to better deal with in daily life.
Back in 2015, after gaining a number of qualifications in the Performing Arts, Damian was keen to get involved in anything he could that would help him develop his skills, but initially struggled to find the opportunities.
“My background is drama based. As I said I do have autism, and by doing drama, that’s how I’ve been able to talk like I am now. It’s helped in a lot of areas.
“I tried to get into a few things, whether it was volunteering or anything like that, but I quickly found myself in a state where I was struggling a bit.
“I ended up speaking to a member of staff at Mahdlo and they suggested volunteering here as something to do and get a foot in the door – with a view that it might help with some of the issues I was dealing with.”
Since then, Damian has grown in confidence and gone from strength to strength at Mahdlo, taking on a weekly role helping with the admin team and getting involved with data entry and IT.
Building up his admin skills wasn’t the only benefit of volunteering with Mahdlo though, as Damian is keen to stress it’s his social abilities he feels he’s improved most.
“It’s really, really good for me. It gets me out and about, talking to people. Being honest I really was struggling before I got involved here.
“I do have autism, and I do struggle with social side of things. Volunteering here has definitely helped in that regard – I can talk to a range of different people, I’ve had the chance to work behind reception – it’s really been worthwhile.”
On his plans for the future, Damian isn’t sure what he wants to move into next. One thing he is clear about though, is where he wants to be to do it.
“I’ll definitely be staying at Mahdlo for the foreseeable future!
“I’d love to get to do more work behind the scenes or maybe even move onto something a bit more fun and directly engaging with other people. We’ll see how it goes!”
Inspired to get involved? There are loads of opportunities to volunteer with Mahdlo! For more information please contact our Volunteer Coordinator: Scarlett.Ash@mahdloyz.org