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Beau's story: Volunteering helped my career

Beau and medical equipment wheelchair© Info

After health problems led to her missing a lot of school time, Beau found that volunteering for the Red Cross gave a huge boost to her confidence – and even landed her a job.

Beau Damen-Young (22) suffered from anorexia and bulimia between the ages of 11 and 17, and missed a lot of her education as a result. When she recovered, her occupational therapist suggested volunteering for the Red Cross.

So Beau popped along to her local Red Cross centre and initially gave one or two days a week to the medical equipment service, little realising it would lead to a worthwhile and satisfying career.

Building confidence

She recalled: “The people I was working with at the Red Cross were very supportive, particularly my manager. I was honest and told them about my background and they really looked out for me.

“I learned a lot from working as part of a team. For example, I hated answering the phone to begin with but quickly got used to it – and I soon built up my confidence and lots of other skills. I’m a different person from the one I was when I started volunteering.”

Challenging job

Having joined as a volunteer three years ago, Beau now works full-time for the Red Cross, co-ordinating medical equipment loans across the whole of Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire. It’s an important and challenging job, but one that Beau relishes.

She said: “My role makes you appreciate the position you’re in because there are always people in much worse situations and you’re dealing with them face-to-face. It makes you realise what a worthwhile job you’re doing.”

Find out more about our medical equipment service

Become a medical equipment volunteer

Read our health and social care blog

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