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4 June 2020 | Comment | Firm News | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

How volunteering helps us better understand the clients we serve

Volunteers’ Week, which takes place this week, is the annual celebration of the contribution that millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

For over 15 years, staff from our Neurolaw team have volunteered at Headway Cardiff Independence and Wellbeing Centre on a weekly basis. Volunteers at Headway Cardiff help people with acquired brain injury to participate in life skills sessions, play games and help to facilitate peer-to-peer support.

We are delighted that over the years we have been able to provide much-needed support to the charity which helps individuals and their families affected by brain injury. Our Hugh James staff have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at Headway Cardiff as it is rewarding and enjoyable and it has also benefited them greatly in order to better understand the day-to-day challenges associated with brain injury. In turn, this means that when we are speaking with our clients, we have first-hand experience of supporting individuals with brain injury and can offer advice in a friendly, professional and knowledgeable manner.

Charlotte Werner, Solicitor at Hugh James recalls, with fondness, her recent volunteering time at Headway Cardiff:

My role as a volunteer was to “facilitate” – to encourage and support service users to explore these activities. It was great to get to know the different service users’ personalities over the course of the weeks and months, and incredibly rewarding to support them to achieve a goal or complete a task or activity. I learnt more about the subtleties of brain injuries, especially how often the effects of brain injuries can have very different presentations from person-to-person. As a trainee solicitor, it was an invaluable opportunity for one-to-one client-facing experience. This has had a great impact in growing my confidence, communication and client care skills.

I really enjoyed volunteering with Headway and would recommend to anybody the opportunity to do something completely different from your “ordinary 9-5”, out of your comfort zone, to understand your clients better and to give back to the local community.

Rebecca Pearce, CEO at Headway Cardiff comments:

We’re so lucky at Headway Cardiff and South East Wales to be supported by such a dedicated and caring team of over 80 volunteers. They contribute to our service in so many different ways – helping set up each morning, welcoming our service users, providing them a listening ear, facilitating activities, running and helping out at fundraising events. They bring real diversity to our charity because they come from such different backgrounds and have such a variety of experiences. We have volunteers who are retired, professionals whose companies support us by enabling them to spend time with us, and students and young people who are just starting out on their careers. They really enrich our charity and we know how much they are valued by our clients because they tell us all the time.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Headway Cardiff please visit their website.

If you or a loved one require specialist advice in relation to brain injury, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Author bio

Cari is a Partner and Joint Head of the National Serious Injury Team, and specialises in representing adult and child claimants who have sustained life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, limb loss and polytrauma following road traffic collisions, injuries at work and assaults.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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