This week is Volunteer’s Week. We could not continue to reach out to the people that need it the most without our volunteers and are so grateful to each and every one of them who give their time, energy and skills to change the lives of others. This week we asked some of our volunteers to share with us why it is that they support us, and what they enjoy about it. This is Emili's story. 

I have been volunteering with the Youth Theatre at Chickenshed Kensington & Chelsea since September 2017, and wow, what a journey I’ve been on already! I knew it would be a good learning experience, but my time as a volunteer has already given me so much more than I thought it would. 

I first came across Chickenshed through their work in the paediatric wards at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I have a background in community dance, particularly with young people, so I jumped at the opportunity to experience more of Chickenshed’s work when volunteering opportunities at the Youth Theatre came up. I wanted to learn about theatre-based approaches to working with young people and to find out about the cross-over with dance.

The young people that I have worked with are amazing. I’ve seen them all grow and develop hugely through working with them on their NT Connections piece for the last six months. The teamwork between the group members and the collaborative and supportive environment, facilitated by the excellent team, really made an impression on me. The Chickenshed staff, whom I’ve had the privilege of working alongside and learning from, are all suc h generous, talented, sensitive and experienced artists. I’ve been inspired by observing and taking part in exercises and approaches that were new to me and have thereby increased my understanding and knowledge of the art form. I’ve seen how the inclusive and creative approach brings out the best in the young people and facilitates the creative process.

I love volunteering with Chickenshed because of the people, the learning and the creativity and I’m very grateful to be able to be a small part of making this work happen.